Eco-terror defendant arrested in Cuba after 12 years on run

PORTLAND, Ore. — Prosecutors say a former Seattle man wanted in connection with an eco-terrorism conspiracy dating back two decades has been arrested in Cuba.

Cuban authorities detained 50-year-old Joseph Mahmoud Dibee before he boarded a flight for Russia. He pleaded not guilty Friday to federal arson and conspiracy charges in Portland, Oregon.

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. 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.

Investigators said Dibee participated in the Susanville and Redmond fires, as well as one at a U.S. Department of Agriculture facility in Olympia, Washington.

Dibee fled the U.S. in December 2005, a month before he was indicted. One defendant, Josephine Sunshine Overaker, remains at large after fleeing to Europe in 2001.

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