Darren Thurston plead guilty to charges of conspiracy and arson today in Eugene, Oregon. As a follow-up to Darren's court hearing, he has asked us to release the following public statement.
To my supporters, friends and family;
On July 20th, 2006, I entered a guilty plea to charges regarding my involvement in an Animal and Earth Liberation Front action and the related overall conspiracy as charged in the FBI's Operation Backfire.
At a meeting in late April, federal prosecutors and law enforcement agents informed me of three co-operating witnessees willing to testify to my involvement in the Lichtfield Bureau of Land Management wild horse release and fire.
Under these circumstances, the only way for me to avoid the 30-45 year mandatory sentence is to enter some type of plea agreement. A short time ago I learned that the prosecutor's offer in return for my guilty plea is 37 months in prison. While I can not say I am happy to spend any time incarcerated, I am glad to know that I will walk free from these walls within my lifetime - have the small pleasures of the sun on my face, or a swim in a cold mountain creek once again.
The actual sentencing will not occur until later this year. With luck I will be placed in a minimum security federal prison and possibly will be transfered back to Canada to serve my time close to my community.
I would like to thank my family and friends for their continued support of me through the troubled times in my life. I would especially like to thank the beautiful strong women who have been there for me - friends, comrades and lovers - thank you for sharing your strength, knowledge and compassion.
In gratitude and struggle,