North Vancouver eco-terrorism suspect surrenders

A North Vancouver eco-terrorist wanted by the FBI for over a decade in its largest domestic terrorism case turned herself in to the American authorities at the Peace Arch border crossing Thursday.

Authorities allege Rebecca Jeannette Rubin, 39, along with 12 other members of an eco-terrorist group called the Family, was responsible for 20 arsons around the American West during the late 90s that did $40 million in damage.

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Rubin and the group, a cell of the larger Earth Liberation Front Earth Liberation Front cell, were charged and indicted in 2006 for an arson at a Vail, Colo., ski resort that caused $12 million in damage, according to the FBI.

The group also set fire to a timber company office in Oregon and federal wild horse corrals in Oregon and California, according to the FBI.

Other targets included a horse slaughterhouse and U.S. Forest Service ranger stations, research facilities and an SUV dealership, all in Oregon.

The group disbanded in 2001, but a federal taskforce known as Operation Backfire turned an informant and broke open the cell in 2005. The leader, William C. Rodgers, ran a bookstore in Arizona. He killed himself in jail in 2005 following his arrest.

Ten people pleaded guilty in 2007 to conspiracy and arson and were sentenced to prison.

One of the convicted Family members, Daniel McGowan, was the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front released last year.

Authorities said Rubin is to appear in Federal Court in Seattle, then will be sent to Oregon for trial.

In 2009, FBI special agent Richard Kolko told The Sun that he believed Rubin was living in Western Canada. Weve had numerous tips up there, he said.

A year earlier, the FBI announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Rubin and three other alleged members of the Family. Only two fugitives remain after Rubin turned herself in Thursday: Joseph Mahmoud Dibee and Josephine Sunshine Overaker, another Canadian.

Before Rubins alleged involvement with the Family, she was charged in Vancouver in 1998 with one count of possession of an explosive substance. She was allegedly involved with two others in mailing a parcel containing a mousetrap armed with razor blades to Holocaust-denier Ernst Zundel in Toronto in April 1995. Zundel later received a pipe bomb through the mail that exploded when it was detonated by the RCMP bomb squad.

With a file from Jeff Barnard of The Associated Press

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