Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Rebecca Rubin (FBI Photo/The Associated Press)
Rebecca Rubin (FBI Photo/The Associated Press)

Canadian sought in eco-terrorism case turns herself in Add to ...

Exhausted after more than a decade as a fugitive, a Canadian woman sought in what officials have called the largest eco-terrorism case in U.S. history has surrendered in Washington State.

One of her lawyers said Rebecca Rubin, 39, will eventually plead guilty on some charges.

Ms. Rubin turned herself in to the FBI at the border at Blaine, Wash., on Thursday as part of an agreement with U.S. authorities, said her Canadian lawyer, Ian Donaldson.

More Related to this Story

The former North Vancouver resident is facing charges of arson, conspiracy and use of a destructive device targeting a ski area, wild horse and burro facilities, and a forestry company in Oregon, Colorado and California between 1997 and 2001 linked to the activities of the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front. On Thursday, her wanted poster on the FBI website had a “Surrendered” banner on it. The poster had noted that Ms. Rubin might have returned to Canada and declared a $50,000 reward for her arrest, adding “Should be considered armed and dangerous and an escape risk.”

“She was tired of life passing her by. She had been living in a prison without walls. It was time to face the music and move on with her life,” Mr. Donaldson said.

“If you can’t have a normal life, you get tired.”

“Discussions with the Americans had been going on for a very long time,” said Mr. Donaldson, who noted he has been communicating with Ms. Rubin by phone and in person for quite a while.

He said he was not fully aware of where Ms. Rubin, who is single and has no children, has been living.

While she has family in B.C., he said she was not living with them.

Rich Troberman, Ms. Rubin’s lawyer in Seattle, said there is the “framework of a plea agreement” with the three states in which Ms. Rubin is alleged to have committed her crimes.

While she will initially enter a not-guilty plea, he said she will eventually plead guilty to some charges and face a sentence linked to negotiations in the jurisdictions where she was sought.

Mr. Troberman said a plea agreement was nearly struck three years ago, but one of the jurisdictions balked.

More recently, talks yielded some agreement. He said the case will be tried in Oregon.

On Thursday, Ms. Rubin made a court appearance in Seattle where she was advised of the charges and waived a removal hearing.

She will be transported to Oregon for her next appearance.

Mr. Troberman said Ms. Rubin has not been co-operating with authorities in terms of helping investigators find two others accused in the case.

In a statement on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice said Ms. Rubin was part of

the “largest eco-terrorism case in United States history,” accused of a role in the arson of a federal wild horse and burro facility in Oregon and the attempted arson of a forestry company.

In Colorado, she is accused of eight counts of arson that occurred in 1998, which destroyed buildings in a ski area.

In California, she is accused with conspiracy, arson and “using a destructive device” in an October, 2001, fire at a wild horse and burro corral.

In 2007, 10 other defendants in the case received sentences of between three and 13 years.

The overall investigation, dubbed Operation Backfire, drew the investigative attention of U.S. agencies including the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon State Police.

Follow on Twitter: @ianabailey

In the know

Most popular video »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most Popular Stories