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Press Release

Defendant Pleads Guilty for Environmental Crimes Committed in the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Las Mareas Community of Salinas, Puerto Rico

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Pedro Luis Bones Torres pleaded guilty today to environmental crimes related to the illegal construction and deposit of material into the wetlands and waters of the United States in the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (the “Jobos Estuarine Reserve”) and Las Mareas community of Salinas, Puerto Rico.

According to court documents, starting no later than January of 2020, Bones-Torres engaged in construction and land clearing activities on a property to the South of Camino de Galileo in the las Mareas area of Salinas, Puerto Rico (the “Property”). At the time that the Defendant began construction activities, the majority of the property was a wetland consisting of mangrove trees and open area that was occasionally partially submerged by the sea tides. The wetland area of property was within the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Between January 2020 and October 2022, Bones-Torres removed mangroves and deposited fill material within the wetland area of the Property using excavation and earth moving equipment that the Defendant operated. Bones-Torres disposed of the mangroves at the edges of the property and on Camino de Galileo. After the Defendant filled the wetlands, he built a concrete pad, a concrete gazebo with an outdoor kitchen, a wooden gazebo, and a dock extending into Mar Negro.

Bones-Torres did not seek or receive approval to fill the wetlands, and at no point was the Defendant permitted to fill wetlands on or near the Property.

Bones-Torres pleaded guilty to one violation of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. § 1311(a), and one violation of the Rivers and Harbors Act, 33 U.S.C. § 403. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 24, 2024, and faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison for the Clean Water Act violation as well as one year in prison for the Rivers and Harbors Act violation. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the District of Puerto Rico; and Special Agent in Charge Tyler Amon for the U.S. EPA Criminal Investigation Division made the announcement.

Various federal agencies are involved in this ongoing investigation into environmental crimes in the Jobos Estuarine Reserve and Las Mareas community, including the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division (EPA-CID), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division (Army-CID), U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Inspector General (DOC-OIG), National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Office of Law Enforcement (NOAA-OLE), and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement (FW OLE).

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Patrick M. Duggan of the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice and Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth A. Erbe, Environmental Litigation Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico.

If you have any information related to this investigation or environmental crimes in the area, please contact enforcement officials, which may be done anonymously. The EPA can be contacted at (787) 977-5821 or at  The FBI can be contacted at (787) 987-6500 or

For more information on the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Reserve, please visit or


Updated April 25, 2024

Environmental Justice
Press Release Number: 2024-031