Joseph Mahmoud Dibee, an alleged member of the Earth Liberation Front group “The Family,” has been arrested in Cuba and is now being held in Oregon. Cuban authorities, with assistance from the FBI and other US government agencies, detained Dibee in Cuba shortly before he was set to board a plane to Russia. He has been held in the Multnomah County Detention Center in Portland since Thursday afternoon.
He appeared in federal court in Oregon yesterday afternoon. He pleaded not guilty to three counts of arson and conspiracy charges. He told the judge he understood his rights and said nothing else.
He will now face federal criminal charges in Oregon, California, and Washington.
He is being charged in Oregon with one count of conspiracy to commit arson, one count of conspiracy to commit arson and destruction of an energy facility, and one count of arson. He also faces one count each of conspiracy to commit arson, possession of an unregistered firearm, and possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence in Washington and one count each of conspiracy to commit arson, arson of a government building, and possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence in California.
One of the actions Dibee is accused of taking part in is the destruction of the Cavel West horsemeat-packing plant in Redmond, Oregon, in 1997. The joint ELF/ALF action was successful in permanently closing down the facility.
In 2005, FBI agents arrived at Joseph Dibee’s home in Seattle, but did not have enough evidence to arrest him. He “disappeared” a few days later. In 2006, a federal grand jury in Oregon indicted Dibee and 12 others as part of Operation Backfire, an FBI investigation into animal and earth liberation groups which has led to numerous arrests. “The Family” is believed to be responsible for actions ranging from vandalism to arson between 1995 and 2001, causing more than $45 million in damages to earth-destroying and animal-abusing companies. None of the actions Dibee is accused of taking part in harmed any human or nonhuman life.
Dibee is expected to go to trial in October in a federal court in Eugene. He will be held in jail until then.
(via Earth First! Journal)