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Press Release

Two Rankin County Men Indicted for Discharging Industrial Waste into Jackson Sewer System

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Mississippi

Jackson, Miss. –  Two Rankin County men appeared in federal court today on felony charges of illegally discharging industrial waste into the Jackson Sewer System, conspiracy, and making false statements, announced U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca and Special Agent in Charge Charles Carfagno with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division’s Southeast Area Branch. 

A nine-count federal indictment was unsealed in Jackson on September 2, 2022, charging Thomas W. Douglas, Jr., 61, and John S. Welch, Sr., 64, with carrying out a scheme whereby industrial waste from their company, Gold Coast Commodities, was discharged illegally into the Jackson Sewer System.

The defendants made their initial court appearances today at the Thad Cochran U.S. Courthouse in Jackson.  

The case is set for trial on November 7, 2022, in U.S. District Court in Jackson. If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison on Count 1 of the indictment, three years in prison on each of Counts 2-6 of the indictment, and five years in prison on each of Counts 7-8 as to Douglas and Count 9 as to Welch.

The Environmental Protection Agency is investigating the case. 

Attorney Jeremy Korzenik with the Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay B. Baldwin are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated September 9, 2022