Last suspect in string of ecoterrorism fires surrenders at border

The surrender of a Canadian woman wanted in connection with the 1998 bombing of a Vail restaurant marked a major step for a retired FBI agent who once tried to persuade the suspect’s mother to urge her daughter to surrender.

Rebecca Jeanette Rubin, 39, surrendered Thursday to the FBI at the Canadian border in Washington. “This was a long time in coming and it’s very gratifying to know that one more person responsible for the Vail fire will find herself in her rightful place in prison,” said former FBI agent Jane Quimby of Grand Junction.

Rubin was part of a cell of the Earth Liberation Front known as The Family, based in Eugene, Ore., authorities said. She was sought on charges that she took part in setting fires at the Vail ski resort in Colorado, at a timber company office in Medford, Ore., and at federal wild horse corrals in eastern Oregon and northern California. The Earth Liberation Front cell is blamed for 20 arsons around the West that did $40 million in damage.

Fires also were set at a horse slaughterhouse, U.S. Forest Service ranger stations, research facilities, and an SUV dealership, all in Oregon.

The FBI had a pretty good idea where Rubin was in Canada, but was unable to arrest her,  because “sometimes its difficult to get things to line up” in another country,” Quimby said.

Quimby spoke with Rubin’s mother in Canada in 2007, reminding her that Rubin would be better served to surrender so that she might someday spend holidays with her family.

Rubin’s surrender suggests she was worn down, Quimby said. “I think she just got tired of running,” Quimby said.

The Family 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 Prescott, Ariz. He committed suicide in jail in 2005 following his arrest.

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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