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Press Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 30, 2010
CONTACT: DEP Press Office, (850) 245-2112

DEP Agents Make Arrests for Felony Littering and Discharge of Pollutants

~Suspects illegally discharged litter and pollutants~

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY – Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) law enforcement agents recently arrested Oscar Rodriguez, 38, and Gabriel Martinez, 34, for commercial littering and discharge of pollutants. Rodriguez and Martinez are each charged with violating the Florida Litter Law, a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000, as well as Pollutant Discharge, a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of not less than $2,500 or more than $25,000.

“Enforcing environmental laws is a vital part of DEP’s mission,” said DEP Division of Law Enforcement Director Henry Barnet. “We encourage Florida’s resident and visitors to help protect Florida’s valuable natural resources and report any suspected environmental crimes by calling (877) 2-SAVE-FL or #DEP from most wireless devices.”

An anonymous complaint prompted DEP law enforcement agents to execute an arrest warrant on Rodriguez, owner and operator of Atland Recycling Center located in Okeechobee. Rodriguez was operating a commercial recycling facility, and was reported to have been purchasing vehicles and crushing them without using any fluid collection mechanism. This allowed the fluids to seep into the ground, causing soil contamination. A warrant was also executed for Martinez, the facility crane operator, as co-defendant.

The analytical results collected by DEP indicated soil contamination of petroleum products at the facility were significantly above the residential threshold allowed by Florida Administrative Code. Rodriguez and Martinez were transported and booked at the Okeechobee County Jail on September 23, 2010. Bond was set at $6,000.00 per person.

DEP’s Division of Law Enforcement is responsible for statewide environmental resource law enforcement, as well as providing law enforcement services to Florida’s state parks and greenways and trails. Division personnel from the three operational bureaus patrol state lands, investigate environmental resource crimes, and respond to natural disasters, civil unrest, hazardous material incidents and oil spills that threaten the environment.

To report an environmental crime, wireless customers can dial #DEP. Callers can also report environmental crimes to the State Warning Point by calling (877) 2-SAVE-FL (1.877.272.8335). General environmental inquiries should be directed to DEP district offices during normal business hours. For more information about DEP’s Division of Law Enforcement, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/law.

vehicles in salvage yard

"Enforcing environmental laws is a vital part of DEP’s mission."

Henry Barnet
DEP Division of Law Enforcement Director

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10–147

Last updated: January 25, 2011

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