Two dozen suspects have been arrested on Long Island in what New York State officials billed as the largest bust of its kind cracking down on illegal dumping of construction and demolition waste.
State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) officers led the joint investigation dubbed Operation TrashNet in which undercover officers conducted truck surveillance to catch suspects in the act.
“Illegal dumping poses a serious threat to our environment, and New York will not allow any unscrupulous businesses to continue to harm this state,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “As we continue to work to stop this alleged criminal behavior, we are sending a clear message to potential polluters that their time is up.”
The ongoing multi-agency crackdown was also conducted in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Of the 81 new dumping sites uncovered in both regions, 52 are currently under investigation,
21 are under administrative enforcement action requiring responsible parties to conduct cleanups and eight have been mitigated or clean-ups are underway, officials said.
More than 550 total tickets were issued for various misdemeanors, more than 170 tickets were issued for alleged unlawful disposal of solid waste, and more than 40 trucking companies were allegedly identified. In addition, 26 trucks were seized and impounded and 53 search warrants executed.
As part of that related investigation, dubbed Operation Pay Dirt, DEC officers and Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini’s office arrested two dozen suspects, some of whom face felony charges, including those involved with the soccer fields at Brentwood North Middle School, officials said. In that bust, 12 corporations were charged with crimes, 12 trucks used for alleged illegal dumping were seized and dozens of new alleged illegal dump sites were uncovered.
“The individuals and companies arrested in connection with this alleged illegal dumping scheme put the health of Suffolk County residents at risk out of pure greed,” Sini said. “These defendants are alleged to have knowingly dumped solid waste and potentially hazardous materials into our residents’ backyards and parks just to line their pockets.”