[JURIST] Daniel McGowan [defense website] was sentenced to seven years in prison Monday after pleading guilty [JURIST report] last year to ecoterrorism charges, including participation in a criminal conspiracy and two counts of arson. McGowan was among ten defendants who pleaded guilty for their roles in a streak of environmentally motivated arsons by the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front [advocacy websites] over the course of five years. Nine of those defendants have been sentenced.
According to the US Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon, the defendants were part of a cell of "underground groups" [press release] that "sought to influence and affect the conduct of government, private business, and the civilian population through force, violence, sabotage, mass destruction, intimidation and coercion, and to retaliate against government and private businesses by similar means." In May 2005, a top FBI official testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that violent environmental and animal rights groups are the nation's top domestic terror threat [testimony transcript; JURIST report]. AP has more.