Genetically engineered sugar beets destroyed; FBI investigating - WSMV Channel 4

Genetically engineered sugar beets destroyed; FBI investigating

Posted: Updated:
GRANTS PASS, OR (KPTV) -

The FBI is investigating the destruction of 6,500 genetically engineered sugar beet plants found destroyed on a southern Oregon farm earlier this month.

FBI officials said an unknown person or group damaged two plots of farmland owned by Syngenta over the course of two nights earlier this month.

Sometime during the night of June 8, the group destroyed roughly 1,000 sugar beet plants on one property.

Then, on June 11, another 5,500 plants were destroyed on another property.

An FBI spokeswoman said the financial losses are significant, but the damage estimate won't be released for investigative reasons. She said the FBI considers the crime "economic sabotage" and that it breaks a federal law.

Oregonians for Food and Shelter is now offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of the person or people involved in the crime. Anyone with information on the destroyed plants is asked to call the FBI at 541-773-2942.

Syngenta is based in Switzerland. A spokesman for the company said they view it as a "crime against agriculture."

Photos of the damaged plants weren't immediately available.

Copyright 2013 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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