2x eco-arsonist gets light sentence, community service

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon Foundation,

A Seattle eco-terrorist who pleaded guilty in April to the 1997 arson of a slaughterhouse in Central Oregon that processed wild horses has been sentenced in federal court to time served—29 months in pretrial custody and home detention. However, Joseph Dibee may be forced to pay part of the $1.3 million in restitution to offset Caval West’s losses, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting, and the judge ordered him to perform 1,000 hours of community service.

Dibee, who supported the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front, also pleaded guilty to arson in the 2001 burning of a Bureau of Land Management wild horse corral in California. In exchange for his guilty pleas, prosecutors dropped arson charges he faced in Washington state. Dibee was an international fugitive who lived in Russia and Syria until FBI agents arrested him in 2018 in Havana, Cuba.

OPB reported that from 1995 to 2001, people associated with the Earth Liberation and Animal Liberation groups caused more than $45 million in damages from arson, including the 1997 destruction of the Two Elk ski lodge in Vail, Colo.

Oregon has a history of offering light sentencing for arson.   Here are three recent examples.


Below is an image of a homemade firebomb device where the man was arrested and released the same day and was caught trying to set more fires.

Dibee’s prison time of just over two years is quite light in context of the fact that he twice helped burn down two different properties and then evaded law enforcement by becoming an international fugitive.