OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Two animal rights activists were arrested by the FBI in Oakland Friday on charges of embarking on a 40,000-mile road trip in 2013 to free mink from mink farms and vandalize fur stores and other animal enterprises.
Joseph Buddenberg, 31, and Nicole Kissane, 28, both of Oakland, were arrested without incident, according to Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI in San Francisco.
Buddenberg and Kissane are charged in an indictment in federal court in San Diego with one count of conspiring to violate the federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.
The indictment was issued by a federal grand jury in San Diego on Wednesday and unsealed after the arrests today.
Prosecutors are seeking to transfer the pair to San Diego to face the charges there following initial proceedings in federal court in Oakland, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in San Diego.
Eimiller said Buddenberg and Kissane made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Donna Ryu in Oakland this afternoon.
Ryu released Buddenberg on a $100,000 unsecured bond, but ordered electronic monitoring and restricted him to his residence, at least until the pair’s next court appearance in Oakland on Tuesday. Ryu released Kissane on a $100,000 unsecured bond, with electronic monitoring.
The indictment alleges as part of the conspiracy, Buddenberg and Kissane drove 40,000 miles around the country between June and December 2013 to free mink and other animals and vandalize animal-related businesses.
They are accused of releasing more than 5,600 mink from mink ranches in Idaho, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota during that time. They also allegedly released a bobcat from a fur farm in Montana.
Buddenberg and Kissane are also alleged to have used paint, glue and glass etchant to vandalize Furs By Graf, a fur store in San Diego, as well as the homes of the present and former company owners.
In other incidents, they are alleged in the indictment to have slashed “multiple tires on multiple vehicles of a wholesale meat distributor in the San Francisco Bay Area” and to have glued the locks of various unidentified animal enterprises in the area in August 2013.
U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy of San Diego said in a statement, “The conduct alleged here, sneaking around at night, stealing property and vandalizing homes and businesses with acid, glue, and chemicals, is a form of domestic terrorism and can’t be permitted to continue.”
If the two are convicted, the conspiracy charge carries a maximum possible sentence of 10 years in prison.
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