THREE MORE CHARGED IN DEP CRACKDOWN TO COMBAT ILLEGAL DUMPING ON STATE LANDS
“DON’T WASTE OUR OPEN SPACE” INITIATIVE YIELDS ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS FOR ILLEGAL DUMPING ACTIVITIES AT LEONARDO STATE MARINA
(14/P55) TRENTON – The Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) new initiative to crack down on illegal dumping in state parks and lands has yielded two more arrests and a warrant for a third arrest, all related to illegal dumping at Leonardo State Marina in Middletown Township (Monmouth County), DEP Commissioner Bob Martin has announced.
The DEP’s “Don’t Waste Our Open Space” campaign was launched in late March. Since the launch, investigations of illegal dump sites on state properties by State Park Police, Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Conservation Officers and DEP’s Compliance & Enforcement personnel has resulted in 10 arrests or enforcement actions.
The program is a coordinated effort of a host of DEP agencies, including Parks, Fish & Wildlife, Solid Waste, Water Resources, State Forestry Services and the Natural Lands Trust. All activities of this new effort are posted on www.stopdumping.nj.gov, a new website that serves as a hub for the entire program
Recent enforcement actions related to illegal dumping at Leonardo State Marina include:
- Matthew Pereira, 44, of Leonardo, was arrested and charged with illegal dumping and illegal transportation of solid waste, stemming from investigations that started in late April. According to authorities, Pereira was hired by a Hazlet resident to replace a fence and remove large amounts of construction and household debris, a large fireplace mantle and a mailbox. All of these items were located in a pile on the marina property.
Pereira, who was released on $1,500 cash bail, faces a maximum fine of $75,000. The case was investigated by State Park Police Detectives Timothy Kasony and Officers Ramin Ghaffari, Jason MacAvoy and Joshua Stinson.
- Luis Salmon, 41, of Long Branch has an active warrant out for his arrest and has been charged with illegal dumping after his 1998 Wave Runner was found earlier this month near the beach area at Leonardo State Marina, in the area of other illegally dumped piles of debris. Salmon faces a maximum fine of $35,000. Detective Kasony and Officer Ghaffardi investigated the case.
- Damien Smith, 33, of Leonardo, has been charged with attempted illegal dumping and illegal transportation of solid waste after being found driving on the beach at Leonardo State Marina with a pick-up truck full of trash in late April. According to authorities, Smith stopped his truck in an area of previous illegal dumping activity and attempted to leave as he was observed by Officer MacAvoy, who was patrolling the marina to prevent further illegal dumping.
MacAvoy conducted a traffic stop with the assistance of the Middletown Police Department. Smith’s vehicle was impounded. Smith faces a maximum fine of $15,000 for the charges.
The new “Don’t Waste Our Open Space’’ campaign incorporates strict enforcement of illegal dumping practices, while raising awareness of the problem through outreach and education.
Strategically deployed motion-sensor cameras have been set up in select state parks and wildlife management areas to help nab violators. Information on arrests and charges filed in connection with illegal dumping will be posted on www.stopdumping.nj.gov.
The DEP is being aggressive in its pursuit of civil and criminal complaints against violators. Penalties for illegal dumping in state parks and in fish and wildlife areas will include criminal fines of up to $5,000 per violation and civil penalties of up to $1,500 per violation. In addition, the state also will seek much stiffer penalties for major violations through the Solid Waste Management Act, which authorizes the DEP and county health departments to initiate civil actions for illegal dumping violations.
Illegal dumping, which includes everything from unlawful disposal of construction debris and old TVs and computers to the dumping of car parts and tires-- and even entire vehicles -- has been a growing problem in the state’s vast natural holdings in all 21 counties in recent years.
Nearly all of the state’s more than 170 publicly owned tracts, including state parks, state forests, wildlife management areas, marinas, and natural lands and preserves, have been impacted by illegal dumping. These lands account for 813,000 acres of state-preserved open space.
For more information on State Parks and Forests, visit: www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/
For more information on State Park Police, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/njstateparkpolice/index.htm
For more information on Solid Waste Compliance and Enforcement, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/sw.html
For more information on DEP Natural Lands Management, visit: www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/natural/index.html
For more information on the Division of Fish and Wildlife, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/