News and Press Releases

Randall Sicard Reis Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Helena, on April 14, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Charles C. Lovell, RANDALL SICARD REIS, a 68-year-old resident of Moss Beach, California, appeared for sentencing. REIS was sentenced to a term of:

  • Probation: 2 years
  • Special Assessment: $200
  • Community Service: 300 hours

REIS was sentenced after having been found guilty during a 2-day trial of two counts of illegal storage of hazardous lead waste.

At trial, the following evidence was presented:

MR3 Systems, Inc. (MR3) and its CEO, REIS, operated a chemical manufacturing facility at Butte from approximately late 1999 until December 7, 2001. During the operation of this facility, the defendants utilized lead and cadmium toxic hazardous materials as feedstock and produced hazardous wastes including lead toxic filter cake and corrosive liquids.

In January, 2001, MR3 notified the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) that it was generating hazardous wastes. Subsequent Montana DEQ inspections of MR3 facilities documented MR3's illegal storage of hazardous wastes. Montana DEQ inspectors repeatedly instructed MR3 on the proper procedures for handling its hazardous waste. For the most part, Montana DEQ's instructions went unheeded throughout the summer and fall of 2001.

For many reasons, MR3 stopped making product and closed its Butte facility on December 7, 2001. Montana DEQ continued monitoring the facility and documented MR3's continued illegal storage of hazardous wastes. In early 2002, Montana DEQ embarked on a series of communications with REIS and other corporate officers in an effort to ensure that MR3 properly disposed of the hazardous wastes illegally stored at its Butte facility. During these discussions, REIS falsely assured Montana DEQ on more than one occasion that MR3 had made arrangements and would soon be properly disposing of the hazardous waste.

On June 5, 2002 the owner of portable storage units rented by MR3 repossessed his storage units. During this repossession activity, the owner of the storage units removed the contents of the storage units and placed the hazardous waste in MR3's parking lot. The storage unit owner's actions in repossessing his storage units unwittingly created an emergent situation requiring the immediate attention of Montana DEQ. Montana DEQ took appropriate steps to secure MR3's facilities and prevent the hazardous wastes illegally stored at the site from further exposure. During this process, Montana DEQ discovered additional hazardous wastes at MR3's Butte facility, including approximately 5,000 gallons of corrosive and cadmium toxic liquid in approximately ten storage vessels.

For the next approximately six months, Montana DEQ strived unsuccessfully to require MR3 and REIS to properly dispose of the hazardous wastes. Ultimately, the landlord of MR3's facility contracted and paid for the proper disposal of MR3's hazardous waste so that he could go about finding another renter for the property.

Exposure to lead wastes can cause neurological and developmental damage and must be stored properly to protect the public, especially children," said Lori Hanson, Special Agent in Charge of EPA's Criminal Enforcement Office in Denver. "Individuals who refuse to handle hazardous wastes safely and lawfully will be prosecuted."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kris A. McLean prosecuted the case for the United States.

The investigation was conducted by the Criminal Investigation Division of the Environmental Protection Agency.



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