February 23, 2006

Man indicted for showing how to make firebomb

By Marty Graham

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A radical environmental activist has
been indicted by a federal grand jury for demonstrating how to
build a firebomb in a speech just 15 hours after a fire that
his group claimed responsibility for destroyed a large
apartment complex being built nearby.

Rodney Adam Coronado, a 39-year-old member of the Earth
Liberation Front, was indicted on a charge of giving
instructions on how to build a destructive device, which
carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. The
indictment was unsealed on Wednesday.

The law under which he was charged has been used just four
other times since it was enacted in 1997, according to
Assistant U.S. Attorney Shane Harrigan. The law makes it
illegal to tell others how to build destructive devices with
the intent of having them commit crimes.

"In the speech, Coronado mentioned the fire that had just
occurred," Harrigan said. "We have to prove his intent was to
have others go out and commit arson."

No one has been charged in the August 1, 2003, early
morning fire that did about $50 million in damage to the
complex being built in University Town Center, a high
technology and business center near the University of
California San Diego.

Authorities say the case is still under investigation.

The Earth Liberation Front took responsibility for the
fire, leaving a banner at the site and sending an e-mail to a
local newspaper.

Coronado has told reporters he showed people how to build a
firebomb, which he used to destroy an animal testing facility
in Michigan in 1992. He served four years in prison for that

He is in federal custody in Tucson, Arizona, awaiting
sentencing after being convicted of going into a public
recreation area to disrupt efforts to trap and move mountain
lions there.

Three people who attended Coronado's speech were jailed for
refusing to testify before the grand jury about the content of
the speech. All have been released.