A man linked to environmental extremist acts in the mid 1990s and early 2000s has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson in California and Oregon, and arson in Oregon, according to a news release Friday from the US Department of Justice.
According to the DOJ, as well as court documents obtained by CNN, Joseph Mahmoud Dibee, 53, recruited and led groups of environmental extremists to design and execute fires targeting commercial and government-owned animal processing facilities in both California and Oregon.
The agency labeled Dibee as an “environmental extremist, arsonist and former fugitive,” in announcing his plea.
According to the DOJ news release, in the late 90s, Dibee and his co-conspirators used “incendiary devices” to destroy an Oregon commercial slaughterhouse and meatpacking facility. In 2001, Dibee and others “attempted to destroy” a government-owned wild horse corral in California, the DOJ said.
“The conspirators, together 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,” according to the DOJ news release.
According to the DOJ, Dibee fled the US in 2005, and was arrested in Cuba in 2018 on an Interpol Red Notice, the DOJ noted.
An Oregon federal grand jury indicted Dibee in 2006, CNN previously reported.
The DOJ assisted multiple federal agencies in the effort to return Dibee to the US, according to the release.
According to the release, as well as CNN’s previous reporting, one of Dibee’s alleged co-conspirators, Josephine Sunshine Overaker, remains at large. The FBI has offered a reward up to $50,000 for information leading to her arrest.
The government, according to the DOJ, will recommend Dibee receive a sentence of 87 months in federal prison. He will be sentenced on July 27, the DOJ added.
According to the release, the US Attorneys’ Offices for the District of Oregon, Northern District of California, and Western District of Washington and the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting the case.