WASHINGTON – Dennis Rodriguez of El Paso, Texas, has been sentenced to five months imprisonment for environmental crimes related to the operation of his company, North American Waste Assistance, LLC (NAWA), which is located in the West Texas city, the Justice Department announced today. Under the plea agreement reached in February of this year, Rodriguez plead guilty to making a material false statement or representation in a manifest used to transport hazardous waste and to two counts of transporting hazardous waste to a facility that did not have a permit issued pursuant to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Besides the period of imprisonment, he was also sentenced to five months home confinement, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.
Both Rodriguez and his company were indicted in November 2005 for violations related to the handling and transportation of hazardous waste. According to the indictment, Rodriguez and NAWA were hired to dispose of over of 100 55-gallon drums of construction-related waste. Approximately 75 of the drums contained expired petroleum-based concrete curing compound, which is an ignitable hazardous waste when disposal becomes necessary.
The indictment alleged that on or about March 27, 2002, Rodriguez and NAWA transported the drums using several Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifests that stated that the drums contained “Non-RCRA, Non-Regulated” waste. Rodriguez then made arrangements to transport the drums, for disposal, to landfills in Avalon, Texas, and Walterboro, S.C. that were not permitted under RCRA to accept hazardous waste. The drums of hazardous waste were then disposed of at unauthorized facilities.
The case was investigated by Special Agents of the EPA, with the assistance of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and was prosecuted by the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas.