An alleged Earth Liberation Front member was arrested by FBI agents at an Olympia residence Wednesday morning, and is charged with causing $500,000 worth of damage to research trees at a U.S. Forest Service facility in Rhinelander, Wisc. in July 2000, court papers state.
Bryan Rivera, a.k.a Bryan Lefey, a.k.a. "Rat Dog," is charged in an unsealed federal indictment filed in the Western District of Wisconsin with one count each of depredation of government property in excess of $500 and depredation of government property in excess of $1,000.
An official at the Federal Public Defender in Tacoma confirmed today that Rivera was being held at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac.
FBI agents served Rivera, 31, with an arrest warrant at his home in the 500 block of East Bay Drive Wednesday morning, Robbie Burroughs, an FBI spokesman, confirmed Thursday. The spokesman would not release details on the charges until today.
According to the indictment: in July 2000, Rivera and two other suspects conspired to damage trees at the Rhinelander facility using " 'etching cream, saws, scraping tools and other items."
"The conspirators believed that the U.S. Forest Service Facility in Rhinelander was an appropriate target for direct action because the facility was performing a genetic research project on trees," reads the indictment. "The conspirators decided to do the attack in combination with their planned protests at the International Society of Animal Geneticists (ISAG protests) occurring in late July of 2000 in Minneapolis, Minn."
In addition to damaging 500 trees at the facility, the group also used spray paint and etching cream to damage U.S. Forest Service vehicles with references to ELF, the indictment states.
After the vandalism, alleged co-conspirator Katherine Christianson, along with a man not named as a defendant in the indictment, sent a communique on behalf of ELF. "The communique ended with the words: 'We are everywhere and we are nowhere and we are watching. For wildness and an end to industrial society.' It was signed 'ELF Earth Liberation Front," reads the indictment.