‘Environmental extremist’ Joseph Dibee pleads guilty to arson
An environmental saboteur has pleaded guilty to his role in two arson attacks on animal processing facilities years ago – part of a domestic terrorism ring known as ‘the family’, the authorities have said. federal prosecutors.
Joseph Mahmoud Dibee admitted to working with at least 15 other Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front members to destroy the Cavel West meatpacking plant in Oregon in 1997, as well as a government-run wild horse facility in California in 2001, according to the Department of Justice.
Dibee, who was indicted more than 15 years ago for his role in the attacks, pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiracy to commit arson and arson charges.
“The conspirators, collectively known as ‘the family,’ were ultimately linked to more than 40 criminal acts between 1995 and 2001 and caused more than $45 million in damages,” the DOJ said in a statement. hurry.
Federal authorities have said Dibee, 53, who spent years on the run after his 2006 indictment, is an “environmental extremist, arsonist and former fugitive.”
In 2018, Dibee was arrested in Cuba before boarding a flight to Russia on an Interpol red notice, according to DOJ and reports.
In the late 1990s, Dibee and his co-conspirators used “incendiary devices” to destroy a commercial slaughterhouse and meatpacking plant in Oregon, according to the press release. In 2001, Dibee and others “attempted to destroy” a government-owned feral horse corral in California, according to the DOJ.
Before and during the attacks, Dibee and other environmental extremists “held meetings to plan arson attacks on targeted sites, conducted research and monitoring of sites, and discussed their planned actions using code words and names. of code” according to the federal government.
“The conspirators designed and built destructive devices that functioned like firebombs to ignite fires and destroy targeted sites,” the press release reads.
During what the extremists called “direct actions”, they wore dark clothes and wore masks and gloves to conceal their appearance. Some “acted as lookouts” while others were tasked with “placing, igniting or attempting to ignite the improvised incendiary devices”, prosecutors said.
In July 1997, Dibee and his team destroyed a commercial slaughterhouse and meatpacking plant in Redmond, Oregon. Four years later, Dibee and others in October 2001 attempted to destroy the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse Corrals – a facility used to remove wild horses from public lands.
Following a years-long domestic terrorism investigation by the FBI, a federal grand jury in Oregon indicted Dibee and 11 co-conspirators in 2006. Dibee had fled the United States in December 2005, a months before his indictment.
One of Dibee’s co-conspirators, Josephine Sunshine Overaker, remains at large after fleeing to Europe in 2001, according to DOJ and reports.
Dibee faces 87 months in federal prison upon his July 27 sentencing in Oregon.
As part of the plea deal reached Thursday, Dibee agreed to pay unspecified restitution to the victims of his crimes, according to the DOJ.