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Warehouse owner pleads guilty and is sentenced on charges of storing hazardous waste

Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Ricky Langlois, Special Agent in Charge, Environmental Protection Agency, Miami Resident Office; Barbara L. Barnet, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, Miami Resident Office; Tom Trammel, Director, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Law Enforcement; and Frank Vecin, Commander, Miami-Dade Police Department, Intergovernmental Bureau, announced today that on March 16, 2005, defendants, Warehouse Distribution Services, Inc. (WDSI), and its former President and owner, Jose Jimenez, of Coral Gables, pleaded guilty before United States District Court Judge James Lawrence King, in Miami, Florida, to a one (1) count Information that charged them with knowingly storing hazardous waste without a permit, in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Title 49, United States Code, Section 6928(d)(2)(A), and Title 18, United States Code, Section 2.

Immediately following the plea hearing, Judge King sentenced both Jimenez and WDSI. Judge King sentenced Jimenez to a five (5) year term of probation, including six (6) months of home confinement, and WDSI to five (5) years of organizational probation. Additionally, Judge King ordered WDSI to make a community service payment to the Florida Environmental Task Force, intended to combat environmental criminal activity, in the amount of $10,000, and the defendants to jointly and severally pay restitution in the amount of $153,487.94 to cover costs expended by government agencies to respond, remediate, and dispose of the hazardous waste. Judge King also ordered Jimenez to make a $5,000 lump sum payment towards restitution.

According to statements made in court, from in or about August, 1993 through approximately 2001, WDSI and its predecessor, Florida Express Warehouse, Inc., both of which were closely held by Jimenez, who also served as their President, stored certain characteristic and listed hazardous waste, without a permit, at a warehouse facility located at 7900 N.W. 68th Street, in the Doral area of Miami-Dade County. In approximately 2001, Jimenez directed employees of WDSI to load the hazardous waste onto a tractor-trailer, where the waste continued to be stored until its ultimate discovery by the Miami-Dade Police Department on or about April 28, 2003. At the time of its discovery, the tractor-trailer containing the hazardous waste was found parked near the intersection of N.W. 54th Street and 85th Avenue, in the Doral area.

Characteristic hazardous waste is waste that is ignitable, corrosive, reactive, or toxic waste. Listed waste is designated an Industry and EPA Hazardous Waste Number, such as “toluene” which is a spent-solvent designated Industry/EPA number F005.

Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Law Enforcement, and the Miami-Dade Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jose A. Bonau.