Four plead guilty in ecoterror case

Nov. 10, 2006 at 2:58 PM

EUGENE, Ore., Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Four longtime environmental activists have pleaded guilty to acts of ecoterrorism in a U.S. court in Oregon.

Jonathan Paul of Ashland, Ore., faces five years in prison and Daniel McGowan of New York and Nathan Block and Joyanna L. Zacher, both of Olympia, Wash., eight years under their plea agreements with U.S. prosecutors, The Oregonian reported. Sentencing is expected early next year.

The four who pleaded guilty Thursday were among 13 people arrested as a result of an investigation nicknamed "Operation Backfire." Prosecutors say that the defendants were involved in a wave of firebombings and arson in California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming for the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front.

"These people claimed they did what they did to protect the environment," said Robert Jordan, the FBI special agent in charge in Oregon, said in the Oregonian article. "Along the way, they destroyed more than $30 million worth of resources. They spent year after year using violence to try to intimidate you and your government into their twisted way of thinking."

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