Thursday, December 8, 2005 ยท Last updated 11:34 a.m. PT

Six face charges in ecoterror attacks


SEATTLE -- Six people have been arrested in connection with ecoterrorism attacks in Oregon and Washington dating back to 1998, including the destruction of a Bonneville Power Administration tower near Bend, Ore., on the eve of the millennium, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

The arrests were made Wednesday in New York, Virginia, Oregon and Arizona, and each of the defendants has been indicted in Oregon or Washington. Besides the tower's destruction, the attacks included three arsons in Oregon and one in Olympia.

One of the fires caused more than $500,000 in damage, and the other three caused more than $1 million, investigators said. The Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for most of the acts.

Chelsea Dawn Gerlach, 28, of Portland, Ore., was charged with conspiring to destroy an energy facility and destruction of an energy facility in the attack on the transmission tower. She faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

Two of the defendants - Stanislas Gregory Meyerhoff, 28, and Daniel Gerard McGowan, 31 - face up to life in prison if convicted of setting fires Jan. 2, 2001, at the Superior Lumber Co. in Glendale, Ore., and May 21, 2001, at the Jefferson Poplar Farm in Clatskanie, Ore. Damage from each fire exceeded $1 million.

Meyerhoff was arrested in Charlottesville, Va., where he was attending Piedmont Community College. McGowan was arrested in New York City.

Kevin M. Tubbs, 36, and William C. Rodgers, 40, face up to 20 years each if convicted of a June 21, 1998, arson at the Animal and Plant and Health Inspection Services facility in Olympia, which caused $1.2 million in damage. Tubbs was arrested in Springfield, Ore., and Rodgers was arrested in Prescott, Ariz.

Sarah Kendall Harvey, a 28-year-old student at Northern Arizona University, was arrested in Flagstaff after being charged with a Dec. 27, 1998, fire at U.S. Forest Industries in Medford, Ore. That fire caused an estimated $500,000 in damage.

The defendants were scheduled to make initial appearances in federal court in the districts where they were arrested.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Seattle said the investigation is continuing.