Four more people Thursday pleaded guilty to arson crimes on behalf of the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front, raising the possibility that the Justice Department’s largest-ever prosecution of ecosabotage will wrap up without a trial, reports the Seattle Times. Since the first arrests in December, the government has obtained 12 guilty pleas from men and women who participated in sabotage in six states. Four other alleged participants have fled the country, including former Microsoft employee Joseph Dibee, whom federal officials believe has taken refuge in Syria.
Only one defendant still is preparing for a trial. She is Briana Waters, a California violin teacher accused of acting as a lookout in the 2001 arson that destroyed the University of Washington Urban Horticulture Center. Calling themselves “the family,” various members of the groups launched attacks against federal, university and private property from 1996 to 2001 that caused some $30 million worth of damage.