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Press Release

South Bay Resident Convicted Of Illegal Dumping In Wetlands And Other Protected Waters

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California

OAKLAND – Today, a federal jury convicted James Philip Lucero of three counts of violating the Federal Clean Water Act for illegally discharging pollutants into waters of the United States, including wetlands, announced Acting United States Attorney Alex G. Tse, Environmental Protection Agency Special Agent in Charge Jay Green, and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.  

Lucero, of Carmel, California, a self-described “dirt broker,” orchestrated the illegal discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States adjacent to Mowry Slough, near the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge located in Newark, California.  As a dirt-broker, Lucero charged a fee to contractors and trucking companies in exchange for providing open space to dump fill material, including construction debris.  The defendant caused a minimum of 1000 industrial-sized truckloads of construction debris and fill material to be dumped on private property containing federally-protected wetlands and other waters of the United States.  He did so without obtaining permission of the landowner and without applying for or obtaining a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the Environmental Protection Agency.  

“Illegal pollution of our wetlands will be prosecuted vigorously by this office,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Tse.  “The verdicts returned by the jury today demonstrate that our community will not tolerate illegal dumping.”

On January 31, 2017, a federal grand jury issued a Superseding Indictment charging Lucero with three counts of unpermitted filling of wetlands and tributaries, in violation of 33 U.S.C. §§ 1311, 1319(c)(2)(A), and 1344.  Pursuant to today’s verdict, Lucero was convicted of all three counts.  

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Philip J. Kearney and Shiao Lee prosecuted the case with the assistance of Alycee Lane and Helen Yee.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, and the Newark Police Department.

Updated February 22, 2018