The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced today that it is stepping up a search for two members of what it called the “most prolific domestic terrorism cell of the time.”
The FBI is offering up to a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Josephine Sunshine Overaker and Joseph Mahmoud Dibee, members of an eco-terrorism cell called The Family.
Ten years ago in a case named Operation Backfire, the FBI and members of the Joint Terrorism Task Forces in Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Virginia, and New York tied members of The Family to more than forty criminal acts such as vandalism, property damage, animal releases and arson, which occurred across five states between 1995 and 2001 and caused about $48 million in damages.
The Family committed the crimes in the name of extremist groups including the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). The group is responsible for largest eco-related arson in history, the 1998 fire at the Vail Ski Resort in Colorado.
“As we worked through the investigation, we learned that despite how close The Family members were personally, they usually didn’t share information amongst themselves,” the FBI said in a release. “Oftentimes, the only ones who knew about a specific action were the ones who actually participated in that action. Even those who were in personal relationships with other members would deliberately keep those personal partners in the dark.”
A federal grand jury returned indictments for 17 people, 15 of whom were taken into custody and pled guilty. Overaker, who has not been seen since 2003, and Dibee are the only remaining fugitives in the case.
Canadian-born Overaker is described as a white female, 5’3″ tall with brown eyes and brown hair, weighing 130 pounds. She is fluent in Spanish and may have spent time in Spain. Lisa Rachelle Quintana, Lisa R. Quintana, Maria Rachelle Quintana, Maria Quintana, Osha, Jo, China, Josie, and Mo are aliases she has used.
“I think she may have found kindred spirits amongst anti-government forces in Spain or in other parts of Europe,” says Special Agent Tim Suttles.
Today the agency released an age-progressed photo of Overaker as she may look at 41 years of age. A bird tattoo spans her back and right shoulder, and another tattoo graces her left shoulder. She may seek work as a firefighter, midwife, sheep tender or masseuse. Previously, she was known to adhere to a vegan lifestyle and use drugs.
Agents believe Dibee may be in Syria, as his family comes from a Christian region of the country. He worked as a computer software tester and has technology-based skills. The FBI said that, “Given the current conflict between the government forces, ISIL, and others, that could certainly have an impact on his ability to work and function in that country.”
48-year-old Dibee is an American. He is described as a white male, 6’3″ tall with black hair and brown eyes, weighing 150 pounds. His aliases include Joe Dibee, Seattle, Steve, and God.
View the Joseph Mahmoud Dibee Wanted Poster
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of terrorism suspects Josephine Sunshine Overaker or Joseph Mahmoud Dibee should contact their local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate. They can also submit a tip online.