Wanted American gets 3 years in China

An American wanted for eco-terrorism attacks in the United States has been sentenced to three years in a Chinese prison for making illegal drugs.

Justin Franchi Solondz, 30, was sentenced on Friday at the intermediate court in Dali, Yunnan province, said an official who only gave his surname as Zhao.

Solondz was indicted in California and Washington state in 2006 in connection with a series of arsons attributed to "the family", a group of radical environmentalists aligned with the Animal and Earth Liberation Fronts, between 1996 and 2001.

The US has no extradition treaty with China and it is not immediately clear when or how Solondz might be returned to the US to face charges, Mark Bartlett, the first assistant US attorney in Seattle, Washington state, said on Saturday.

The US Justice Department has informed Chinese officials that it remains interested in prosecuting Solondz.

The Chinese Ministry of Public Security was not available for comment on the issue yesterday.

The man's father, Paul Solondz, said his son pleaded guilty last month.

Paul Solondz said his son was arrested in China during a drug sweep in March.

Authorities later found

15 kg of marijuana leaves buried in the courtyard of a home he rented.

Investigators heard little of Solondz after his 2006 indictment and the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a $50,000 reward late last year for information leading to his arrest.

At the time, the agency said he might be in Canada, Europe or Asia.

This year he surfaced in Dali, using a fake Canadian identification and an altered appearance, Bartlett said.

Paul Solondz said his son did not escape the US to avoid prosecution and entered China with a valid visa, renewing it twice.

AP

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