UCSD arson suspects accused of eco-terrorism - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

UCSD arson suspects accused of eco-terrorism

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Court documents filed in San Diego Superior Court reveal that prosecutors allege two UCSD students set two separate fires on campus as an act of eco-terrorism to try to prevent a Starbucks from opening on campus. 

Twenty-two year old Holly Nguyen and 21-year-old Maya Land have pleaded not guilty to charges of arson in the December incident. 

Prosecutors allege that the two undergrads, who were captured on surveillance video entering the Price Center on the UCSD campus shortly before the fires were set in two separate restrooms, were part of the 'Earth Liberation Front' or ELF, the collective name for individuals or factions that resort to "eco-terrorism" to stop, in their view, the exploitation of the environment.

In this case, according to the search warrant, it centered on opposition to a Starbucks coffee shop opening up on campus. This proposal was mired in controversy because of allegations Starbucks violates the university's fair trade policy.

A vote by UCSD staff and students on this proposal was being held in the Price Center at the exact time these fires were set, which prosecutors suggest was an attempt to prevent the final vote from taking place. The Starbucks was ultimately approved by an 11-4 vote.

The fires set in the restrooms were extinguished by UCSD staff, and no one was injured. 
The attorney for Maya Land told CBS News 8 unequivocally that her client is not affiliated with the Earth Liberation Front, and claimed that Land did not even know what ELF was. 

The Earth Liberation Front is the same radical environmental group that, more than a decade ago, claimed responsibility for one of the costliest fires in San Diego history, torching a condominium project under construction in University City and leaving behind a banner that read, "if you build it, we will burn it" and was signed "the ELF's are mad."
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