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Radical Environmentalist Cops Plea

An environmental activist and former fugitive who once won thousands of votes in a congressional election pleaded guilty to federal charges under a deal that would send him to prison for two years.

Tre Arrow, 34, pleaded guilty Tuesday to the destruction of concrete-mixing trucks in Portland in April 2001 and to firebombing logging trucks at a contested logging sale near Mount Hood in June 2001. He had faced up to 40 years in prison if convicted of two counts of arson.

In a separate case, a radical environmentalist who helped federal officials round up a militant cell of arsonists was sentenced Tuesday in Eugene to five years of probation.

Jacob Ferguson pleaded guilty in October to arson and attempted arson for his role in a series of 20 fires set across the West from 1996 to 2001 to protest logging and environmental damage. Officials said the fires caused more than $40 million in damage.

Ferguson built many of the incendiary devices used by the small militant cell of the Earth Liberation Front that was nicknamed "the Family," according to court records. He became an informant in 2004 as investigators were closing in on the group.

Ten other radicals were sentenced to federal prison last year after pleading guilty to arson and other crimes claimed by the Earth Liberation Front and a sister group, the Animal Liberation Front, from 1996 to 2001.

The FBI claims Arrow is also associated with ELF. He insisted he gave no information to implicate others as a part of his plea deal. Nothing said in court Tuesday countered that.

The plea bargain calls for a 78-month sentence with credit for the time Arrow served in a Canadian prison since his March 2004 arrest in British Columbia on shoplifting charges. He was returned to the United States in February.

Arrow is to serve his time at a medium-security federal prison at Sheridan, southwest of Portland. U.S. District Judge James A. Redden said he is not allowed to have contact with either ELF or ALF after his release.

Formal sentencing was scheduled for August.

Arrow legally changed his name from Michael Scarpitti because he said the trees told him to do so. In 1998, he was arrested in Cincinnati wearing a pink bunny suit outside a Procter & Gamble Co. executive's home. He was charged with leafleting without a permit and fined $130.

He moved to Oregon and joined protests organized by the Cascadia Forest Alliance. He scaled the offices of the U.S. Forest Service in Portland in the summer of 2000, perching on a narrow ledge for 11 days.

Arrow suffered a broken pelvis in October 2001 when he fell 65 feet (20 meters) from a tree after a two-day standoff with police and loggers in the Tillamook State Forest. He ran for Congress in 2000 as a Pacific Green Party candidate, winning nearly 16,000 votes.

Arrow pleaded guilty Tuesday to aiding in the destruction of a truck used in interstate commerce at Ross Island Sand and Gravel and of burning three logging trucks used in interstate commerce owned by Schoppert Logging Inc., which was to have started cutting trees at the timber sale site. Three other gasoline bombs found in other trucks failed to explode.