4 arrested for threats against UC researchers

February 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Four animal rights activists are under arrest accused of threatening university researchers. The FBI says the four are accused of harassing researchers from both U.C. Berkeley and U.C. Santa Cruz, and even going to the researchers' homes and encouraging others to attack them.

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The FBI thinks four animal rights activists are behind a string of threats and attacks on University of California medical researchers, both in Berkeley and Santa Cruz.

Nathan Pope and Adriana Stumpo currently live in Southern California and Joseph Buddenberg and Maryam Khajavi live in the Bay Area.

"I think everyone generally is pleased with this development," said Jim Burns, the U.C. Santa Cruz Public Information Officer.

Because until now, there has been tension on the U.C. Santa Cruz campus. In February of last year, a group, which investigators believe involves several of the suspects, broke into a researchers home during her daughter's birthday party. The woman's husband managed to fight off the attackers.

Then, in July, agents say these same suspects created booklets, listing the names and home addresses of medical researchers. They were left at a Santa Cruz cafe.

"It's unconscionable to resort to violence or threats to try and change policy and these arrests will send a message that the FBI, the Federal government and police departments in the area, in the United States are serious about combating this," said Special Agent Joe Shadler, with the FBI.

The FBI won't release details about what exactly links the suspects to the crimes, but they do say evidence taken from a home, where three of the suspects lived, was crucial.

Two of the four suspects are former U.C. Santa Cruz students. Stumpo and Khajavi overlapped here from 2006 to 2008. That's also when all of the attacks they're accused, of took place.

The group is tied to two other incidents at the homes of U.C. Berkeley researchers in 2007 and 2008.

If the suspects are found guilty of violating the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, they could up to five years in prison.

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