First Engineer Of International Commercial Cargo Tanker Convicted Of Falsifying Records And Obstructing Justice In Scheme To Dump Oily Bilge In International Waters
SAN FRANCISCO – Violations of the Federal Clean Water Act were filed last week against James Philip Lucero for the unpermitted discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States, including wetlands, announced Acting United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch, Environmental Protection Agency Acting Special Agent in Charge Jay Green, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson, and Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley.
In the indictment filed March 15, 2016, and unsealed this afternoon, a federal grand jury charged Lucero, 59, of Carmel, Calif., a self-described “dirt broker,” with illegally discharging pollutants into waters of the United States adjacent to Mowry Slough, part of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge located in Newark, Calif. As a dirt-broker, Lucero is alleged to have charged a fee to contractors and trucking companies in exchange for providing open space to dump fill material, including construction debris. The defendant is alleged to have caused construction debris and fill material to be dumped on property containing federally-protected wetland and other waters of the United States, without applying for or obtaining a permit from either the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the Environmental Protection Agency. According to the two count indictment, beginning on or about June 2014 and extending through on or about September 8, 2014, Lucero, without a permit, caused dirt, soil and other materials to be discharged from a point source into waters of the United States, including 11.85 acres of wetlands and 1.33 acres of other waters. Lucero is charged with one count of unpermitted filling of wetlands, in violation of 33 U.S.C. §§ 1311, 1319(c)(2)(A) and 1344, and one count of the filling of other waters, in violation of the same statutes.
Lucero was arraigned this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu. He is next scheduled to appear on April 25, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam for an initial appearance.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the maximum statutory penalty for a violation of 33 U.S.C. §§ 1311, 1319(c)(2)(A) and 1344 is three years in prison and $50,000 fine. Additional fines, forfeitures, and a period of supervised release also may be imposed. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip J. Kearney is prosecuting the case with the assistance of paralegal Alycee Lane. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, and the Newark Police Department.