Three plead guilty to eco-motivated arson in the West

Three people pleaded guilty yesterday to being part of a group that set fire to ranger stations, wild-horse corrals, a ski resort, and lumber mill offices in the Western U.S. in recent years. The 16 attacks harmed no people, but caused more than $20 million in damage. “This is a substantial step in resolution of this case and successful prosecution of the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front in these crimes,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Peifer. ELF and ALF had claimed responsibility for the attacks. The defendants admitted to being part of the two groups, but were not personally involved in all of the fires. Under a plea agreement, the three will likely get shorter jail sentences than if they’d gone to trial, and they will cooperate in the investigation of 10 others who will go on trial in October for a series of firebombings in the Northwest from 1996 to 2001. The Justice Department expects more defendants to plead guilty today.