Yesterday in Tucson, federal agents arrested animal-rights militant Rodney Coronado on charges that during an August 2003 “revolution summer” event in San Diego, he taught a room full of activists how to make incendiary devices out of common household materials. Coronado offered a similar firebomb-building demonstration earlier in 2003 during a “Conference on Organized Resistance” held at American University in Washington, DC (click here to see video).

Coronado may be headed for long-term federal custody, but at least he’ll feel right at home. He spent 57 months in prison during the 1990s for his role in an Animal Liberation Front arson that destroyed a research facility at Michigan State University. In a 2004 interview with The State News in Lansing, an unrepentant Coronado said “I wish I could do it again … I have absolutely no regrets.

Court records in the Michigan State case show that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) president Ingrid Newkirk “arranged … days before the MSU arson occurred” (emphasis in the original) for Coronado to send her overnight packages containing stolen documents from inside the lab and a videotape of the arson fire being started (click here and see page 9).

Coronado never implicated PETA or Newkirk in court. PETA gave him over $70,000 (including a $25,000 forgiven “loan” to Coronado’s father) for his unsuccessful legal defense. In a 2003 interview with ABC’s 20/20, Newkirk defended Coronado, insisting that he is “a fine young man and a school teacher.” (Click here for video.)

And there’s no doubt he’ll be “a fine young cellmate,” too. In a 2005 interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune, Coronado defended his habit of expressing himself publicly with milk jugs and kerosene. “You’re damn right when you say I’ve shown people how to make a firebomb,” he told the Union-Tribune. “I’ve done my time for my crimes, and I should be able to talk about them. We are simple people. We are an organization using simple tools.”

“We” refers to the Earth Liberation Front — a PETA-funded terrorist group. According to the Associated Press, “Daniel Dzwilewski, special agent in charge of the San Diego FBI office, alleged that Coronado was a national leader of the radical Earth Liberation Front.” Dzwilewski told reporters yesterday: “America will not tolerate terrorists … Whether you were born here or abroad, we will not stand back and allow you to terrorize our communities under the guise of free speech.

Amen to that. Rodney Coronado may spend 25 years in prison if he is convicted. He may also receive 7-1/2 years in prison in April, when he is sentenced for sabotaging a federal hunt of mountain lions that threatened Arizona families.

Of course, Coronado could beat the rap — particularly if PETA opens its checkbook again and hires a top-flight attorney. Will PETA pony up part of its $29 million income to defend the indefensible again? Time will tell. But in the meantime, Coronado is off the streets and behind bars. One down, many to go.