Suspect in 1998 eco-terror arson in Vail arrested in Cuba boarding flight to Russia.


A long-sought suspect wanted for eco-terrorism in the Western United States, including a 1998 fire that destroyed a restaurant and other facilities at the Vail Ski Resort, has been arrested in Cuba while boarding a plane to Russia.

On Friday, Joseph Mahmoud Dibee, 50, pleaded not guilty to federal arson and conspiracy charges in Portland, Oregon.

Authorities have said the Earth Liberation Front cell was responsible for 20 arsons around the West from 1996 to 2001 that did $40 million in damage.

Prosecutors say that in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Dibee joined about a dozen animal rights and environmental activists in setting fires around the West, according to the Associated Press. Beyond the Vail fire, the group targeted a horticulture center at the University of Washington; a federally owned wild horse corral in Susanville, California; and a horse slaughterhouse in Redmond, Oregon, among other properties.

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