Suspect Is Sought in Bombings
FBI officials are seeking a 25-year-old man described as an animal rights activist in connection with recent bombings at a Bay Area biotech firm and a cosmetics and vitamins company.
Daniel Andreas San Diego, who lives in Schellville, an unincorporated area outside Sonoma, is wanted on suspicion of maliciously destroying or attempting to destroy property with explosives, authorities said Thursday. An arrest warrant was filed Sunday, and the supporting documents have been sealed by order of a federal judge.
In late August, two crude pipe bombs exploded at the Emeryville headquarters of Chiron Corp. A month later, a small bomb shattered glass at the Pleasanton offices of Shaklee Corp.
The suspect’s father, Edmund H. San Diego, the city manager of Belvedere in Marin County, said in an e-mail that he was surprised by the warrant, and he urged his son to surrender to avoid more conflict.
“We are very saddened about today’s developments, and suffice to say that we know little more than you about the situation,” the father said.
Some animal rights activists said San Diego, who goes by the name of Andreas San Diego, is innocent. Through anonymous e-mails, the self-proclaimed Revolutionary Cells took responsibility for the bombings in the name of animal and Earth liberation.
The activists also said that several homes in Santa Cruz, San Francisco and Oakland had been under FBI surveillance in the days leading up to the arrest warrant. David Hayden, an animal rights advocate in Santa Cruz and a friend of San Diego, said his house had been under round-the-clock watch from two cars, beginning Tuesday night.
According to Hayden, two FBI agents knocked on his door Thursday morning and asked if he knew where San Diego was. “They told me that it would be a crime to give him shelter,” Hayden said.
David Trager, an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which has been working with the FBI on the case, confirmed that several homes had been under surveillance, but he did not disclose the locations.
He said authorities had been led to San Diego through “leads from Web sites and some phone calls.”
Trager said San Diego was suspected of setting off the devices. “Whether he was responsible for constructing them, I don’t know,” the ATF agent said.
Officials secured the arrest warrant Sunday after trying for days to locate the suspect, said San Francisco FBI spokeswoman LaRae Quy.
“We were trying to track him down, exhausting other avenues. We had other leads we were pursuing in an effort to find him, but they proved fruitless, so we decided to seek the public’s help,” she said.
“Now he is a federal fugitive, and unless he gives himself up or someone turns him in, he will spend the rest of his life as a federal fugitive.”
The arrest warrant was based strictly on the three bombings in the San Francisco area, not on any of the other eco-terrorism incidents that have occurred throughout California this year, Quy said.
She also said that authorities were questioning numerous people and were involved in other searches. But she discounted claims by animal rights activists that federal agents were descending on one residence after another.
“We have been out there interviewing other people -- no doubt about it. But as far as conducting a bunch of raids, the FBI doesn’t do that,” Quy said. “We will do a search of a house only with legal warrants and with probable cause.”
In early media reports after the Chiron bombings, three Oregon residents were reported to be suspects. Quy said that those reports had been incorrect and that the people had never been considered suspects.
Although no other arrest warrants have been issued, Quy said the public should not conclude that San Diego acted alone. “We believe there is a likelihood there are other people involved, that he had confederates,” she said. “We believe other people have knowledge of his activities.”
Authorities had said the Chiron and Shaklee bombings represented an escalation in the type of violence committed in the name of animal rights activism.
The anonymous e-mail from Revolutionary Cells after the Shaklee attack said the group would no longer refrain from violence against people. The e-mails also stated that Chiron and Shaklee had been targeted because of their ties to Huntingdon Life Sciences, a British-based animal testing lab.
Rod Coronado, a spokesman for the radical animal rights group Animal Liberation Front and the radical environmental group Earth Liberation Front, said he could understand the frustration that might lead activists to bomb businesses associated with Huntingdon. But he did not believe that San Diego had committed the crimes.
Coronado, 37, said he first met San Diego in December, when they were both working with Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, a group that aims to stop animal testing at Huntingdon.
“He was not a guy who was festering anger in the basement and building bombs,” Coronado said. “He was not the person with the loudest, most radical voice in meetings, but he was active in demonstration.”
Friends said San Diego was a vegan -- someone who eats no animal products -- known for making marshmallows without gelatin.
In his father’s e-mail, San Diego was described as “a very bright and sensitive young man who would refuse to harm anybody or any living thing.”
A commander of a bomb squad in nearby Yolo County said he hoped the break in the Chiron and Shaklee cases could deter other groups from committing similar acts.
In the Pleasanton attacks and others, “there has been a disregard for the previously established game rules, that they would hurt property and not people,” said Cmdr. Nick Concolino. “These three bombings have, at least, been reckless and, at worst, a threat to public safety.”
Special correspondent Rodriguez reported from San Francisco; staff writers Chong and Krikorian reported from Los Angeles. Times researcher Nona Yates also contributed to this report.
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