David Tomkins, Assistant District Attorney   CONTACT PERSON:
John Fioretta, Deputy District Attorney
Environmental Crimes Unit
(408) 792-2638   For release on October 31, 2006     NINE ARRESTED IN HAZARDOUS WASTE TRANSPORTER STING OPERATION   The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office recently completed an undercover operation in San Jose that netted nine individuals who were willing to pick up and transport hazardous waste illegally.   The undercover operation was a cooperative effort between DTSC’s Criminal Investigations Branch and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. The San Jose Police Department and Alameda County District Attorney’s Office also played major assisting roles.    Last week’s undercover operation took place in San Jose over a three-day period. Only two unregistered haulers refused to take the hazardous waste, which consisted of more than 140 gallons of waste paint thinner and flammable paint labeled as “hazardous waste” or “flammable.”  The other unregistered haulers charged between $150 and $2,800. After the other unregistered haulers loaded the waste containers onto their trucks and began to drive away, police stopped and arrested them.    Transporting hazardous waste requires registration with the State of California, insurance, and training. These arrestees were unlicensed, uninsured, and untrained. Some of them erroneously believed that they could take the waste in small amounts over time to a Household Hazardous Waste center. However, waste generated by businesses must generally be transported by a registered hazardous waste transporter using a California Hazardous Waste manifest to ensure that it is disposed of properly and is not spilled in transit.   This operation was one of several successful efforts throughout the state in which DTSC and local prosecutors work collaboratively to ensure the safe transport of hazardous waste by taking illegal transporters off the road.  “These transporter stings are an extremely effective tool to identify, apprehend, and prosecute illegal transporters of hazardous waste,” said DTSC Director Maureen Gorsen. “The Department, in cooperation with local District Attorney's offices, is committed to continue conducting these transporter stings. I would like to thank … all the participating District Attorney's office investigators, and the San Jose Police Department for their cooperation in making this transporter sting a success.”     Suspects in this case were charged with illegal transportation of hazardous waste, transporting hazardous waste without registration, failing to properly secure the hazardous waste for transportation, and failing to use hazardous waste placards. Three were charged with felonies because of their prior criminal records; the rest face misdemeanor charges.   DTSC regulates the generation, storage, transportation, and disposal of hazardous waste in California. The investigation and prosecution of these cases is being handled by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Environmental Protection Unit.   # # #     ​

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