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News Release
RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release:

October 19, 2000

Contact:

Sally J. Spadaro 222-4700 ext. 2426 Pager 482-4835
Stephanie Powell 222-4700 ext. 4418

DEM SEIZES EVIDENCE AS PART OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGED SOLID WASTE VIOLATIONS AT PATRIOT HAULING COMPANY IN JOHNSTON

PROVIDENCE - Investigators from the Department of Environmental Management (DEM), Office of Criminal Investigation executed a search and seizure warrant today at the Patriot Hauling Company located at 116 Shun Pike in Johnston. The purpose of the warrant was to obtain evidence confirming that the Patriot Hauling Company is operating an illegal solid waste management facility and an illegal construction and demolition processing facility without first having obtained a licensed from the DEM. Patriot Hauling Company is operated by Joseph R. Vinagro.

Enforcing our solid waste laws and regulations is a top priority for DEM," said Director Jan Reitsma. "Why? Ask the residents of Johnston and Coventry, whose lives are made miserable by odors and water quality problems from poorly managed or even illegal activity. We owe it to those residents to take aggressive action against operations that seem to have no regard whatsoever for the rules that are meant to protect the health and rights of their neighbors. And just to be clear, this is not a witch hunt against the solid waste industry. This is an effort to stop violations that not only hurt people and the environment, but also give the industry a bad name, making it harder for legitimate businesses to operate."

"DEM's Office of Compliance and Inspection had issued the Patriot Hauling Company two Notice of Violations for operating an unlicensed solid waste facility based on inspections conducted on October 7, 1999 and August 22, 2000. The August 22 inspection revealed that Vinagro had been continuing to operate a construction and demolition processing facility since October 7, 1999 without a license. During the inspection, it was noted that that there were 55,000 cubic yards of mixed solid waste on the property and that the Patriot Hauling Company was actively processing this material.

Today DEM criminal investigators, DEM regulatory inspectors and auditors from the Attorney General's Office, along with Johnston Police Officers seized documents and physical evidence samples from the weigh station, main office and demolition debris piles at the facility. The owners and operators of Patriot Hauling Company could face felony criminal charges with penalties of up to $25,000 and up to five 5 years in jail for each and every day of illegal operation.


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