Illegal dumping

SAN DIEGO (CNS) -The owner of a National City pawn shop was convicted of dumping lethal hazardous wastes at the Miramar Landfill in San Diego, federal prosecutors announced Friday.

Sentencing for We Lend More Inc. owner Marc Vogel was scheduled May 29 at the federal courthouse.

On Thursday, Vogel and his company were found guilty of unlawful transportation of hazardous waste, unlawful disposal of hazardous waste and transportation of hazardous waste without a manifest, based on their role in dumping potassium cyanide — a poisonous toxin that is lethal to humans in very small doses — and concentrated nitric acid.

According to testimony at trial, if those two chemicals had combined during their disposal, the mixture would have created deadly hydrogen cyanide gas, threatening the life of anyone in the immediate vicinity.

According to trial evidence, Vogel last March 12 contacted a trash hauler and asked for a truck to be sent to We Lend More to dispose of some “junk,” but did not inform the trash hauling company that it included cyanide and acids.

Later that day, co-defendant Raul Gonzalez-Lopez arrived at We Lend More with a truck, negotiated with Vogel for a price of $100 to remove the “junk,” and tossed the discarded items into the truck — including two seven- pound containers of potassium cyanide and a gallon of nitric acid.

No waste manifests were prepared for either of the hazardous wastes, prosecutors said.

The following day, Gonzalez-Lopez disposed of the potassium cyanide and nitric acid, along with other trash, at the Miramar Landfill, which does not have a permit to accept such hazardous waste, according to prosecutors.

Fortunately, landfill workers promptly discovered the hazardous wastes and took precautionary measures, including hiring a hazardous waste disposal company to properly deal with the dangerous items.

Vogel admitted to investigators that he knew the chemicals he was seeking to have dumped could not be removed as ordinary trash.

We Lend More previously obtained an EPA “generator” number in connection with the disposition of some other chemicals, but never prepared a manifest for the March shipment of hazardous waste, prosecutors said.

Gonzalez-Lopez remains at large.

Categories: KUSI