Alleged eco-terrorist Rebecca Jeanette Rubin has surrendered to authorities at the US-Canada border after a decade on the run. The Canadian-born Rubin played a central role in what authorities have called the largest eco-terrorism case in US history, involving 20 acts of arson committed over a five-year period in several Western states.
Operating out of Eugene, Oregon, Rubin and 12 other co-conspirators, calling themselves “The Family,” used firebombs to attack a ski resort in Vail, Colo., an Oregon SUV dealership and federal wild horse corrals in Oregon and California. All, told the destructive spree from 1996 through 2001 caused an estimated $40 million in damages.
Members of The Family — all linked to the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front — took an oath of secrecy, vowing never to disclose each other’s participation in the destructive crime spree. However, a federal task force known as Operation Backfire turned an informant in 2005, breaking the secret cell and leading to the capture of its leader, William C. Rodgers, then running a book store in Prescott, Ariz. A Svengali-like guru and sexual predator who called himself Avalon, Rodgers committed suicide in jail following his arrest.
Rubin, 39, was one of the last remaining fugitive holdouts from The Family. A wildlife researcher, she will be sent back to Eugene, Oregon, for trial on conspiracy and arson indictments. Two fugitives remain: Joseph Mahmoud Dibee and Josephine Sunshine Overaker. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Peifer said Dibee is believed to be in Syria, where he has family, and Overaker is believed to be in Europe.