Ecosabotage charges against arsonist unsealed


A judge has unsealed the charges against Jacob Ferguson, the arsonist turned informant who helped bring down the largest ecosabotage ring in the nation.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken unsealed the charges this week at the request of federal prosecutors who said secrecy no longer is needed, The Register-Guard newspaper reported in its Thursday editions.

Ferguson, 34, is charged with one count each of attempted arson and arson stemming from the first of at least 20 attacks in five states by a group that became known as "The Family," the newspaper reported.

Court records indicate Ferguson made a deal to cooperate with prosecutors in order to avoid jail. No date has been set for his appearance in federal court in Eugene.

Earlier this year, Aiken sentenced 10 members of The Family to prison terms ranging from just over three years to 13 years.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Ferguson began wearing a recording device in 2004 to capture incriminating conversations with many of his former arson partners.

Ferguson, according to court records, took part in as many as 14 of the group's crimes.

Police apparently suspected &

as it turned out incorrectly &

that Ferguson was involved in the torching of SUVs at a Eugene truck dealership in 2001. Under pressure from that investigation, Ferguson evidently agreed to cooperate.

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