March 31, 2006

Another person indicted for alleged ELF action

by Sara Jean Green
A 30-year-old California woman has become the first person to face charges for the 2001 arson that destroyed the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture, the latest in a series of charges against suspected members of the Earth Liberation Front.

Briana Waters of Berkeley, Calif., was indicted by a federal grand jury and has been charged in U.S. District Court in Seattle with arson and using or carrying a destructive device during a crime of violence, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle.

Waters could face a minimum 35-year sentence if convicted. Her arraignment was set for today.

Federal prosecutors in Eugene, Ore., have already charged 13 other people in connection with a series of arsons across the West. A 14th defendant, William C. Rodgers, 40, of Prescott, Ariz., committed suicide in an Arizona jail in December after he was indicted by a Seattle federal grand jury.

On May 21, 2001, fire ripped through the UW's Center for Urban Horticulture, a research center and resource for gardeners that cost $7 million to rebuild. The Earth Liberation Front (ELF), claimed the center was targeted for its reasearch into fast-growing poplar trees.

Members of ELF and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) claimed responsibility for numerous arsons in Washington, Oregon and other states, including U.S. Forest Service buildings, a Bureau of Land Management horse corral, a meat company, a lumber company and a Vail, Colo., ski resort.

While the FBI has called ELF and the similar Animal Liberation Front (ALF) the nation's top domestic terror threat, the groups say they are careful not to hurt people.


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