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Transportation company pleads guilty to transporting hazardous materials

Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Barbara L. Barnet, Special Agent in Charge, United States Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General; and Tom Trammel, Director, Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Law Enforcement, announced today that on September 21, 2004, Seaboard Marine Ltd., Inc. ("Seaboard"), a worldwide transportation company, pleaded guilty before United States District Court Judge Alan S. Gold to the charge of accepting and transporting hazardous materials on the public highways in violation of Department of Transportation regulations, in further violation of Title 49, United States Code, Section 5124.

The Information, which was filed by the government on July 7, 2004, charged Seaboard with knowingly and willfully transporting various hazardous materials from January 22, 2002 through February 11, 2002, in intrastate commerce by a commercial motor vehicle. The hazardous materials were primarily solvents and cleaning substances, including phosphoric acid, hydrochloric acid, isopropanol, potassium hydroxide, and sodium hydroxide. Seaboard faces a maximum statutory penalty of five (5) years' probation, a fine up to the greater of $500,000 or twice the amount of pecuniary gain or loss from the offense, restitution, and a possible community service payment. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for December 6, 2004, before Judge Gold.

On September 21, 2004, Seaboard pleaded guilty to violating numerous regulations prescribed by the Department of Transportation, as set forth in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Specifically, Seaboard admitted that the company transported hazardous materials from January 22 to February 11, 2002, without proper classification, description, marking, labeling, and packaging; without the proper shipping papers; without emergency response information; without emergency instructions for drivers; without marking the transport vehicle with hazardous material and emergency response information; without providing drivers and dispatchers with hazardous material training; without a shipper's certification; without properly securing packages inside the vehicle; without proper disposal and/or repacking of leaking packages; without notice to the Department of Transportation and the National Response Center of the leakage; and without insuring that drivers had a hazardous material license endorsement.

Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the United States Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General; the Department of Environment Protection, Division of Law Enforcement; the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Department of Transportation; the Miami-Dade Police Department, Intergovernmental Unit; and the Hialeah Police Department. This case being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Diane Patrick.