Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014 • Litchfield arsonist sentenced to five years in prison

Eco–terrorist and longtime fugitive Rebecca Jeanette Rubin — one of a group of seven self-proclaimed members of the Animal Liberation Front who allegedly attacked the Bureau of Land Management Litchfield Wild Horse and Burro Corrals in October 2001, causing more than $200,000 in damages — last week was sentenced to five years in prison for three indictments in three federal districts.

Jeff Fontana, spokesperson for the BLM’s Eagle Lake Field Office, said the conviction speaks for itself, and he declined further comment.

According to the court documents, on Nov. 29, 2012, Rubin, a Canadian citizen, surrendered to the Federal Bureau of Investigation at the international border in Blaine, Wash. to face federal charges in Oregon, Colorado and the Eastern District of California.

On Monday, Jan. 27, United States District Judge Ann Aiken in Portland, Ore. sentenced Rubin in the District of Oregon and ordered her to pay $13.9 million in restitution. Rubin was charged in three Animal Liberation Front arson cases — one in Oregon and the other two were transferred to Oregon.

On April 6, 2006, Rubin was indicted in the Eastern District of California and charged with conspiracy, arson and using a destructive device in the Oct. 15, 2001, fire at the Litchfield Wild Horse and Burro Corrals near Susanville.

According to court documents, the conspirators used five-gallon plastic buckets containing a mixture of gasoline and heavy petroleum distillate and sophisticated delayed igniters with redundant dual timers. The igniter was placed between matches surrounding a road flare. The road flare was on a lid above the bucket of fuel and served to ignite it. The BLM suffered losses of $207,500 including destruction of a 135’ x 35’ barn.

The case was transferred to the District of Oregon for plea and sentencing after an investigation by agents from the FBI and the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and prosecuted by former Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Steven Lapham.

On May 18, 2006, in the District of Oregon, Rubin was charged with being part of a conspiracy with 12 other people involving 20 acts of arson, spanning five years (1996-2001) and five western states.

Self-proclaimed members of the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front allegedly committed the crimes. The Colorado federal indictment charged Rubin with eight counts of arson in the Oct. 19, 1998, fires that destroyed two lodges and other buildings at the Vail ski area in Eagle County, Colorado.

In Aug. 2007, 10 other defendants received prison terms ranging from 13 years to three years after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in Eugene to conspiracy and multiple counts of arson. Several other defendants remain at large.

Details about Litchfield arson reveal sophisticated attack
The October 2011 attack at the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro Corrals was a well-planned act of eco-terrorism by individuals critical of the BLM and “industries and organizations that seek to profit by destroying the earth.”

According to the court documents, Rebecca Jeanette Rubin, a Canadian citizen, was recruited to participate in the arson at the Litchfield facility. She and Darren Thurston crossed illegally into the United States by foot at a wooded location near Cultus Lake. Joseph Dibee and long-time cell member Jennifer Kolar picked them up in a car and took them to Dibee’s Seattle residence.

These four, along with Stanislas Meyerhoff, planned the Litchfield arson. Meyerhoff constructed the incendiary devices.

On Oct. 12, Rubin and Thurston washed Dibee’s truck to eliminate fingerprints and trace evidence. She and Thurston also gathered water bladders, flashlights and other equipment.

On Oct. 13, they left for Olympia, where Brianna Waters joined the group.

In Eugene, Kevin Tubbs joined them. They split into three vehicles and drove to Litchfield. After checking on the BLM site, they camped nearby overnight.

Waters, along with Kolar, had participated in the May 2001 arson at the University of Washington Urban Horticulture Center in Seattle.

About midnight Oct. 15, Rubin and the others dressed in black clothing, gloves and socks covering their shoes. While others performed the arson, Rubin and Thurston went to the horse corrals, where they sawed and removed segments of fences. Although they tried to funnel horses through paths constructed with snow fences, the plan didn’t work well.

Given the signal, they all departed and drove separately back to Oregon using back roads. Rubin and Thurston washed Dibee’s truck in Seattle and walked back across the border at the same location used previously.

The Litchfield facility suffered losses of $207,497.60, including destruction of a 135 x 35 foot barn. Each incendiary device consisted of a five-gallon plastic bucket containing a mixture of gasoline and heavy petroleum distillate.

Unlike prior arsons, the devices had sophisticated delayed igniters with redundant dual timers. The timers consisted of an electronic alarm clock functioning to complete an electric circuit between a nine-volt battery and a rocket igniter.

The igniter was placed between matches surrounding a road flare. The road flare was on a lid above the bucket of fuel and served to ignite it. The devices met the definition of incendiary bombs prohibited under federal law.