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Sentencing in 2001 Eco-Terrorism Attempt at Michigan

U.S. Attorney’s Office March 27, 2009
  • Western District of Michigan (616) 456-2404

MARQUETTE, MI—Ian Jacob Wallace, 27, of East Setauket, New York, was sentenced on Monday by U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell to serve three years in Federal prison for his role in the November 5, 2001, attempted fire-bombing of U.S. Forest Service property located on the campus of Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, U.S. Attorney Donald A. Davis announced today. Wallace, who committed the offense on behalf of the activist environmental group known as the “Earth Liberation Front” or “ELF,” was also ordered to pay over $1.6 million in restitution to the victims of other similar, but successful, acts of arson and property destruction in Western Wisconsin and Minnesota that he participated in between 2000 and 2002.

In targeting Michigan Tech, Wallace and a second ELF adherent, who has since been convicted and sentenced in the District of Oregon, had sought to destroy federally-funded research that was being conducted into genetic modification of plants. Although Wallace could have been sentenced to as much as 10 years in prison, Judge Bell imposed a much lower sentence in recognition of the assistance Wallace provided to the United States in its investigation of other ELF actions; because his actions did not, and were not intended to, physically harm any person; and because he voluntarily abandoned his ELF activities in 2002 and focused on obtaining a doctoral degree.

The case was investigated by the Marquette office of the FBI and the U.S. Forest Service, with assistance from the Michigan State Police, Michigan Technological University Department of Public Safety, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). It was prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hagen W. Frank.

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