By Noelle Crombie / The Oregonian
A 39-year-old woman accused of eco-sabotage in three Western states turned herself in to U.S. authorities at the Canadian border on Thursday morning.
Rebecca Jeanette Rubin, a Canadian, had been on the run for a decade before surrendering in Blaine, Wash. She is accused of multiple counts of arson as part of a conspiracy with 12 other people from 1996 to 2001 in five Western states.
The charges against Rubin include a Nov. 30, 1997, arson at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro Facility in Harney county near Burns and the Dec. 22, 1998, attempted arson at the offices of the U.S. Forest Industries, Inc., in Medford. She’s also accused of involvement in the Oct. 19, 1998, arson attack that destroyed the Two Elk Lodge and other buildings at the Vail ski resort in Eagle County, Colorado.
Rubin faces federal charges in California as well in the attack Oct. 15, 2001, of the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro Corrals near Susanville, Calif.
Federal authorities say Rubin was part of the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front, both underground movements that the government has labeled terrorist organizations. She was indicted on federal charges in Oregon along with 12 others in January 2006 in connection with a coordinated campaign that caused an estimated $23 million in damage between 1996 and 2001 in Oregon, California, Washington, Wyoming and Colorado.
When the indictment was issued eight had already been arrested in a nationwide sweep in the most extensive bust of suspected eco-saboteurs in U.S. history.
The group took oaths of secrecy and called itself “The Family.” They built firebombs, scouted their targets, took dry runs then dressed in black, donned masks and carried two-way radios during attacks.
Rubin shares a name with an 18-inch American Girl doll, produced by a Middleton, Wis., company which was released in 2009. The FBI hoped publicity from the doll would help bring Rubin to justice, according to a story in The New York Times.
“Any publicity that gets the word out that our Rebecca Rubin is wanted on various charges is certainly beneficial,” said Beth Anne Steele, a spokeswoman for the F.B.I. in Oregon.
In August 2007, 10 other defendants were sentenced to prison terms from about three to 13 years after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in Eugene to conspiracy and multiple counts of arson. Two defendants — Joseph Mahmoud Dibee and Josephine Sunshine Overaker — are still at large.
Rubin will make an initial court appearance in U.S. District Court in Seattle and then will be transferred to Oregon to face trial.