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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A hazardous waste company, its owner, and two employees were indicted today for illegally abandoning more than 10,000 gallons of liquid hazardous waste and more than five tons of solid hazardous waste in trailers on the company’s property in Charlotte, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by Special Agent in Charge Andy Castro, of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division (EPA-CID), Atlanta Area Office; Robert Schurmeier, Director of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NC SBI).
The criminal bill of indictment was returned by a the grand jury on May 17, 2017, charging Parts Cleaning Technology of North Carolina (“PCT”), its owner, David Russ Crandell, of 36, of Novi, Michigan, and two employees, Timothy Michael Connelly, 54, of Concord, N.C. and Vincent Edward Peters, Sr., 51, of York, S.C., with one count of conspiracy to illegally store hazardous waste, one count of illegal storage of hazardous waste without a permit, and one count of illegal storage of hazardous waste in violation of a permit. Connelly and Peters are also each charged with making false official statements to regulators.
According to allegations contained in the indictment, PCT, was a business engaged in the collection and transportation of hazardous waste in Charlotte, N.C. From at least as early as in or about 2011, the defendants allegedly stored hazardous waste on unpermitted trailers on PCT’s property at 3114 and 3124 Cullman Avenue, in Charlotte. The indictment alleges that the defendants had ongoing difficulty paying the disposal companies, which were refusing to accept hazardous waste from PCT. As alleged in the indictment, on July 7, 2014, PCT was evicted from the Cullman Avenue facilities, the defendants did not remove the hazardous waste and did not notify anyone that the waste had to be removed.
The indictment also alleges that on August 19, 2015, North Carolina State regulators executed a search warrant and located hazardous waste for which 43 customers had paid PCT for disposal. The indictment further alleges that regulators also located hazardous waste in the building located at 3124 Cullman Avenue, which was not permitted to store any hazardous waste. It is also alleged that over the course of the criminal conduct, defendants Connelly and Peters made false official statements to regulators about the contents of the trailers.
In 1976, in response to a growing number of hazardous waste sites resulting from unregulated waste disposal activities, Congress enacted the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). RCRA established a strictly-regulated “cradle-to-grave” regulatory program, which governs and tracks hazardous waste from the point of generation until its final disposition.
The object of RCRA includes, among other things, protection of human health and the environment through stringent regulation of the generation, transportation, storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous waste.
The conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of five years of imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. The RCRA violations carry a maximum sentence of five years of imprisonment and a fine of $50,000 per day of violation. The false official statements charges carry a maximum sentence of five years of imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.
The details contained in this indictment are allegations. The Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney Rose thanked the EPA-CID and NC SBI for leading the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, is in charge of the prosecution.