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Solondz Returns To Face Charges In UW Horticulture Arson

Phyllis Fletcher

One of the FBI's most wanted is soon on his way back to Tacoma. He'll face charges from an arson that destroyed the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture 10 years ago. KUOW's Phyllis Fletcher has more. KUOW's Liz Jones contributed to this report.


Justin Solondz evaded federal authorities until 2009 when he was arrested in China on drug charges. He went to prison there, was deported and flown to Chicago.

Emily Langlie is spokesperson for the US Attorney's Office in Western Washington. She says Solondz will appear in Chicago in a US District Court.

Langlie: "That is where he first returned to the United States. And then the Marshall's service will transport him to the Western District of Washington to the federal courthouse in Tacoma where he will make his initial appearance on the indictment."

Langlie says federal courts have convicted 14 people in arsons and other property crimes in the western US. The Department of Justice alleges they and Justin Solondz were members of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). The ELF attacked the horticulture center because its members opposed experiments there that they called genetic engineering."

Solondz's ex–girlfriend, Briana Waters, pled guilty in Tacoma last month. She had been free after the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals overturned her conviction. She's scheduled for sentencing. The FBI is still looking for two suspects in the UW arson and a third fugitive indicted in Oregon.

I'm Phyllis Fletcher, KUOW News.

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