United States Attorney John M. Bales
Eastern District of Texas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: DAVILYN WALSTON
WEDNESDAY, MAY 27, 2009 PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe PHONE: (409) 839-2538 CELL: (409) 553-9881
KIRBYVILLE FATHER AND SON SENTENCED FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES
BEAUMONT, TX – U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced today that a Kirbyville father and son have been sentenced to federal prison for environmental crimes in the Eastern District of Texas.
KEVIN WAYNE HESTER, 34, pleaded guilty on Aug. 12, 2008, to disposing of hazardous waste without a permit and was sentenced today to 20 months in federal prison. His father, LYLE HESTER, 62, was also sentenced today to 14 months in federal prison. The Hesters were ordered by U.S. District Judge Ron Clark to jointly pay restitution in the amount of $391,442.57.
According to information presented in court, in January 2007, investigators with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) executed a search warrant at the residence of Kevin Hester, president of Simply Aquatics, Inc. During the search, it was discovered that Kevin and his father, Lyle Hester, had buried 113 compressed gas cylinders on the residential and ranching property located on County Road 3065 in Kirbyville. It was also determined during the investigation that 33 of the compressed gas cylinders were under high pressure and contained a combined total of 952 pounds of chlorine gas. Lyle and Kevin Hester were indicted by a federal grand jury on May 7, 2008. Lyle Hester, shop foreman for Simply Aquatics, pleaded guilty to the same charges in August. The offense is a violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which criminalizes the storage, transportation or disposal of hazardous wastes without a permit.
The Hesters were each ordered to report to the U.S. Marshals Service by 2:00 pm on July 7, 2009 to be transported to a federal prison and begin serving their sentences.
This case was investigated by the EPA Region 6, Criminal Investigation Division and the TCEQ Special Investigations, Litigation Division and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Noble.
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