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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 5, 2016

Southco Enterprises, Inc. of Sherman, Texas, Admits Unlawfully Storing Hazardous Waste

DALLAS — The President and Chief Executive Officer of Southco Enterprises, Inc. of Sherman, Texas, James Alexander, appeared in federal court in Dallas this week and entered a guilty plea on behalf of the corporation to a one-count Information charging treating, storing or disposing of hazardous waste without a permit, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas. 

According to the factual resume filed in the case, Southco Enterprises, Inc. operated several waste transportation vehicles in the Dallas area that were stored at facilities including Al-Kel Chemical, located on Goode Road in Hutchins, Texas.  In approximately December 2007, Al-Kel Alliance, Inc., (Al-Kel) received a Notice of Violation from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for storing numerous 55-gallon drums and 350-gallon totes that contained unknown chemicals.  The Notice of Violation also noted two stationery “box trailers” with totes and fiber pack drums.  TCEQ instructed Al-Kel to evaluate all the containers, including the contents of the two trailers, conduct an adequate waste determination, and ship the waste to the appropriate facility. 

From approximately October 1, 2010, through August 1, 2011, accumulated hazardous wastes were again stored on several “box trailers” owned by Southco and located at the Al-Kel facility.  Southco knew the accumulated hazardous waste in the “box trailers” must be disposed of at an appropriate facility.

If the Court agrees to the terms of the plea agreement, the maximum possible sentence imposed includes a $400 mandatory special assessment and $250,000 in monetary penalties.  The $250,000 in penalties consists of a $150,000 criminal fine payable to the U.S. District Clerk, $50,000 payable to the Southern Environmental Enforcement Network Training Fund in Birmingham, Alabama, and $50,000 payable to Hutchins Fire and Rescue.  The payments to Hutchins Fire and Rescue are to be specifically used to acquire, purchase, lease, contract for, maintain, calibrate, test, transport, stage or store specialized equipment and gear used exclusively for actions related to spills, leaks, emissions or release of toxic or hazardous materials constituting, or possibly leading to, environmental pollution in North Texas.

In addition, if the plea agreement is accepted by the Court, Southco Enterprises, Inc. may be subject to suspension and disbarment at the discretion of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Sentencing is set for June 1, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade

The case is being investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.  Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa J. Dunn and Assistant U.S. Attorney Errin Martin are prosecuting the case.

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Topic(s): 
Environment
Component(s): 
Updated May 5, 2016