Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announced that on February 17, 2011, Thomas Watson, age 57, and Cathy Watson, age 54, of Moultrie, Georgia, pled guilty to an Information admitting to a violation of the Federal Hazardous Materials Transportation Law under Title 49, United States Code, Section 5124, before the Honorable Hugh Lawson, United States District Judge.
At the time of the plea, the Watsons admitted to transporting large amounts of hazardous materials in interstate commerce using TomCat Trucking, Inc., of Doerun, Georgia, a trucking company they controlled, even though in late 2008, an Out of Service Order had been issued against TomCat by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. TomCat, was administratively dissolved by the Georgia Secretary of State, after having received an unsatisfactory safety rating. The couple admitted that between January and July, 2009, they used TomCat to transport at least 19 shipments of Telone II, a pesticide, and Ammonium Nitrate, a fertilizer, in direct violation of federal law. The Watsons agreed to a sentencing condition banning them from applying for or holding any Commercial Motor Carrier permit for the duration of their sentences.
The Watsons each face a maximum penalty of up to 5 years in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing will be scheduled by the Court at a later date.
U.S. Attorney Moore said, “Continuing criminal violations of this type directly place the public, property and the environment in serious danger of potential exposure to dangerous substances being transported on the public roadways. The work of the Georgia Office of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was invaluable in bringing this matter to a just and appropriate conclusion”.
The case was investigated by agents of the United States Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Robert D. McCullers prosecuted the case for the government. For additional information, please contact Sue McKinney, Public Affairs Specialist, at 478-621-2602.