Posted by on February 23, 2018
Categories: Bay Area

(by Julia Cheever) – A commercial waste broker from Carmel has been convicted by a federal jury in Oakland of three counts of violating the U.S. Clean Water Act by illegally dumping polluted earth and construction debris into federally protected waters and wetlands near Newark.

James Lucero, 61, was convicted by jurors in the court of U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam on Wednesday. He will be sentenced by Gilliam on June 4.

Lucero had a business of providing contractors and trucking companies with open space to dump fill material and dirt from construction sites, for a fee, according to a grand jury indictment.

The areas where he was convicted of illegal dumping were protected wetlands and waters on private property adjacent to the Mowry Slough in the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge near Newark.

U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Abraham Simmons said trial evidence showed that Lucero orchestrated the dumping of 1000 industrial-sized truckloads of construction debris and dirt in two protected wetlands areas and a tributary of the Mowry Slough in 2014.

Lucero did not obtain federal permits or permission of the landowner, Simmons said.

The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of dirt, other fill material and pollutants into protected waters without a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or Environmental Protection Agency.

Acting U.S. Attorney Alex Tse said in a statement, “Illegal pollution of our wetlands will be prosecuted vigorously by this office. The verdicts returned by the jury demonstrate that our community will not tolerate illegal dumping.”

The maximum possible sentence for each count is three years in prison.