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ELF Member Pleads Guilty To Felony

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A member of the Earth Liberation Front pleaded guilty on Friday to one federal felony count of demonstrating how to use a destructive device. Rodney Adam Coronado, 41, of Tucson, showed a crowd how to commit arson on Aug. 1, 2003, "just hours after a large arson fire had destroyed an apartment complex under construction in the University Towne Center area of San Diego," prosecutors said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said in a press release that Coronado was not prosecuted for his speech, but for "his felony criminal conduct."

In that press release, an FBI agent effectively accused Coronado of being a terrorist, saying, "Terrorism, either international or domestic, is the first priority of the FBI."

Coronado pleaded guilty to advocating use of arson to effect political change. Prosecutors said he told the crowd that day of his criminal conduct, including "sinking whaling ships and burning research facilities to the ground."

In its press release, the U.S. Attorney's Office, perhaps ill-advisedly, listed the simple elements that Coronado said are all that's necessary to make "a crude incendiary device."

The Earth Liberation Front has been suspected in numerous acts of arson and vandalism, including destruction of RVs at dealerships.

Coronado will be sentenced on March 27.

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