A Louisiana man was recently arrested for allegedly violating a number of environmental laws. The owner and operator of a Louisiana-based disposal company is facing a felony charge of dumping solid waste into state waters and two misdemeanors for illegally disposing of solid waste. Authorities also charged him with 12 misdemeanor criminal trespassing counts.
In March 2019, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality’s Criminal Investigation Section — LDEQ CIS — received multiple complaints from various landowners describing what appeared to be illegal dumping on their properties. The following month, investigators with the LDEQ CIS teamed up with investigators from the Louisiana State Police to perform aerial surveillance in the area. Investigators collected both photographs and recorded video during the surveillance period, although it is not clear how long those efforts lasted.
Authorities say that the collected observations showed that a 38-year-old man was using wetland areas to dump demolition and construction debris. The wetland areas were located on multiple private properties, on which the man did not have permission to dump the debris. The owners of these properties also told investigators that they had not given their permission for the man to even be there in the first place.
Louisiana authorities take allegations of illegal dumping extremely seriously. If convicted on his felony charge, this defendant could have to shell out up to $50,000 in addition to spending as long as three years in prison. His misdemeanor charges could also yield several more thousand dollars in fines and additional time behind bars. Because the potential consequences can be quite serious, preparing a thorough criminal defense is essential for defendants who are in similar situations.