Last modified Thursday, January 19, 2006 12:33 AM PST http://www.gazettetimes.com/articles/2006/01/19/news/oregon/thusta01.txt Suspect arrested in ’97 fire Federal agents also seek woman in 2001 lumber company fire By JEFF BARNARD Associated Press writer GRANTS PASS — Federal agents investigating a string of Northwest arsons claimed by the shadowy radical groups Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front have arrested one new suspect and are seeking a second, authorities said Wednesday. Criminal complaints filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Eugene name the first suspect in the 1997 arson of a horse slaughterhouse in Redmond for which ALF claimed responsibility, and another person accused of torching the offices of the Superior Lumber Co. in Glendale, now known as Swanson Group, in 2001, for which the ELF said it was responsible. Jonathan Mark Christopher Paul, 39, was arrested in Ashland on charges he helped firebomb the Cavel West horsemeat packing plant in Redmond on July 21, 1997 with an unnamed woman, said Diane Peterson, spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Portland. An arraignment set for Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Medford was postponed until later this week. If convicted on the arson charges, he could be sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined $250,000. Suzanne Nicole “India’’ Savoie, 28, of Applegate, remained at large, Peterson said. She was charged with serving as a lookout for the Jan. 2, 2001, firebombing of the Superior Lumber Co. lumber mill offices in Glendale. She also faces 20 years and a $250,000 fine if convicted. The two new suspects bring to nine the number of people charged in a series of arsons from 1996 to 2001 in Oregon and Washington. They include two lumber mill offices, a tree farm, an SUV dealer, and two federal research labs. Authorities have also linked two of the earlier suspects to a fire at a Vail, Colo., ski resort, but no one has been charged in that arson. Of the seven, four are being held without bail, one is free on bail, one committed suicide in jail, and one remains a fugitive. According to an affidavit from FBI Special Agent Paul E. Caldwell, Jr., an unidentified informant involved in the horsemeat packing plant fire told investigators that Paul and an unidentified woman set the blaze using five-gallon plastic buckets filled with a mix of gasoline, diesel oil and soap that were ignited by an electronic timer. The buckets have been a signature of ELF and ALF fires. Paul prepared the fuel mix, adding soap shavings so it would form a gel and burn more slowly, the affidavit said. They did a dry-run a week before. The night of the fire, one of the buckets went off unexpectedly, igniting a fireball, and two didn’t ignite, according to the affidavit. The ALF claimed responsibility for the fire. It caused an estimated $1 million in damage, but 100 horses in nearby corrals survived. The communique from ALF said the arsonists also poured hydrochloric acid in air conditioning vents to taint any meat that survived the fire. Cavel has been criticized by animal-rights groups for slaughtering wild horses rounded up from U.S. Bureau of Land Management lands in the West. The Belgian-owned company never rebuilt the Redmond plant, but continues to operate one in DeKalb, Ill. James Tucker, general manager of the Cavel International Inc. plant in DeKalb, Ill., said the company no longer handles BLM horses, but may have to close its last U.S. plant in March if Congress passes a bill that would stop funding for federal inspectors for horse meat. “It’s long overdue,’’ Tucker said of the arrest. “From my readings of other ALF activities, they don’t seem to have any qualms about taking illegal action to make their point.’’ An FBI affidavit against Savoie said she was the girlfriend of Daniel McGowan at the time, and they both served as lookouts in the Superior Lumber fire. McGowan of New York City is being held without bail in Eugene on charges he helped torch Superior Lumber as well as a tree farm in Clatskanie. Earth Liberation Front took responsibility for both fires.