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Eco-Saboteur Changes Plea To Guilty For Role In Firebombing Spree

Multnomah County Jail
Booking photo of Rebecca Rubin

An eco-saboteur charged in a fire-bombing spree that spanned the American West changed her plea in federal court on Thursday.  Rebecca Rubin pled guilty to conspiracy and multiple counts of arson. 

Rubin is now 40 years old. When she was in her twenties, she joined a cell of radical environmentalists loosely affiliated with the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front.

Federal investigators blame the shadowy cell for around 20 arsons spanning five Western states. The attacks happened between 1996 and 2001.

In a Portland courthouse, Rubin entered guilty pleas for her part in arsons at the Vail ski resort in Colorado, at wild horse corrals in Oregon and Northern California, and at a lumber company office in Medford, Ore.

According to a plea agreement, Rubin confessed and agreed to tell everything she knows in exchange for leniency at sentencing. She's looking at five to seven years in federal prison when she's sentenced at a later date.

Rubin spent a decade in hiding in Canada before she surrendered to the FBI last year. She's a Canadian citizen. Two co-conspirators remain at large among nearly twenty people charged and jailed for related acts of eco-sabotage. 

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.