September 27, 2008

A hunt in garbage helps solve eco-terrorism spree

The Associated Press
A business owner checking a trash container for scrap cardboard was alarmed by something else: gas masks, maps, an M-80 explosive, arson photos and anti-government writings.

"It was kinda scary," Andy Wishaw recalled. "Some of my employees said it's nothing. I thought, 'What's it going to hurt to call the police?'"

The discovery turned out to be a big break for the FBI.

Agents on the trail of eco-terrorism used the contents to help solve more than a dozen acts of arson and tree spikings in Michigan and Indiana committed in the name of a radical group, the Earth Liberation Front, known as ELF, from 1999 through 2003.

Details on the trash and other evidence against two key figures are in search warrants in federal court in western Michigan. The warrants and affidavits are sealed, but they've landed on the Internet, offering a look at how the FBI closed in on Frank Ambrose and Marie Mason.

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