Accused ecoterrorist surrenders at U.S.-Canada border

Story highlights

  • Rubin made an initial appearance in Seattle on Thursday, prosecutor says
  • Rebecca Rubin was wanted in connection with a string of fires across the West
  • One of those was the blaze that destroyed Vail's Two Elk Lodge
  • Rubin had been at large for 10 years, authorities say

An accused ecoterrorist charged in the 1998 fire that destroyed a Colorado ski lodge has surrendered at the U.S.-Canadian border, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.

Rebecca Rubin turned herself in at a border post in Blaine, Washington, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Oregon announced. She faces federal charges in connection with several fires set across the West over five years, including the October 1998 blaze that destroyed the Two Elk Lodge and several other buildings at the Vail, Colorado, ski resort.

The FBI said Rubin was part of a group called "The Family," which was associated with the Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmental group that claimed responsibility for numerous arson attacks and acts of vandalism between 1996 and 2001. The ELF claimed responsibility for the Vail blaze, saying it was defending lynx habitat in the mountains from a planned expansion of the ski resort.

In addition to the Vail fire, Rubin is accused of taking part in attacks on Bureau of Land Management wild horse corrals in Oregon and California and an Oregon wood-products company in 1997 and 1998.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Peifer said Rubin's surrender was arranged through her attorney. Authorities were waiting for her at the border crossing, and she made her initial appearance in a Seattle courtroom Thursday afternoon, Peifer said. She will be transferred to Portland in the next few days, he said.

The charges against Rubin include arson, conspiracy and the use of a destructive device, a count that carries a mandatory 30-year sentence.

Federal prosecutors brought charges against nearly a dozen suspected ELF and Animal Liberation Front members, including Rubin, in 2006. Two others indicted with Rubin remain at large and are believed to have fled the country.