News and Press Releases

Former Wastewater Manager In Hays
Charged With Violating Clean Water Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Aug. 13, 2013

WICHITA, KAN. – A former manager of wastewater facilities for the city of Hays, Kan., has been charged with violating the Clean Water Act, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.

Charles L. Blair, 57, Hays, Kan., is charged with four counts of making false statements about nitrogen levels in the effluent for the City of Hays. In three counts, Blair is alleged to have made false statements in Discharge Monitoring Reports. The reports significantly understated the amount of ammonia nitrogen in the city’s effluent. In another count, Blair is alleged to have falsely stated to agents of the Environmental Protection Agency that he had provided accurate reports to EPA. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in February, March and July 2012 in Hays, Kan.

The Clean Water Act regulates the discharge of pollutants from point sources to waters of the United States. More information on the law is available at:
http://www2.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-clean-water-act

If convicted, Blair faces a maximum penalty of two years in federal prison and a fine up to $10,000 on each of the first three counts and a maximum penalty of five years and a fine up to $250,000 on the fourth count.

The Environmental Protection Agency investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Treaster is prosecuting.


OTHER INDICTMENTS



Antoine Otano, 23, Wichita, Kan., is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. The crimes are alleged to have occurred May 25, 2009, in Sedgwick County, Kan.

If convicted, he faces a penalty of not less than five years and not more than 40 years and a fine up to $2 million on the cocaine charge, and a penalty of not less than five years – consecutive to the sentence on the other count – and a fine up to $250,000 on the firearm charge.

The Wichita Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Jacobs is prosecuting.

Eleazar Marquez-Bencomo, 52, Garden City, Kan., is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking. The crimes are alleged to have occurred Aug. 1, 2013, in Finney County, Kan.

If convicted, he faces a penalty of not less than five years and not more than 40 years and a fine up to $2 million on the cocaine charge, and a penalty of not less than five years – consecutive to the sentence on the other count – and a fine up to $250,000 on each firearm count. The Finney County Sheriff’s Department, the Garden City Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Jacobs is prosecuting.

Amos Becknell, 33, Wichita, Kan., is charged in a superseding indictment with one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and three counts of unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction. The crimes are alleged to have occurred April 1, 2011, in Sedgwick County, Kan.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $1 million on the cocaine count, a penalty of not less than five years, consecutive to the sentence on the cocaine count, and a fine up to $250,000 on the charge of possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, and a maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000 on each of the charges on unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction. The Wichita Police Department investigated. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Jacobs is prosecuting.

Troy D. Benton, 43, Liebenthal, Kan., is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction. The crimes are alleged to have occurred July 4, 2013, in Ellis County, Kan.

If convicted, he faces a penalty of not less than five years and not more than 40 years and a fine up to $2 million on the drug charge and a maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000 on the firearm charge. The Ellis County Sheriff’s Office investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Treaster is prosecuting.

In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.

 

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