Louisiana Company Employee Pleads Guilty To Making False Statements About the Illegal Disposal of Ammunition
On June 14, 2018, William Terry Wright, an employee of Explo Systems, Inc. (Explo), Minden, Louisiana, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Shreveport, Louisiana, to conspiracy related to the illegal transportation and disposal of hazardous waste. Wright was indicted on August 25, 2016.
Explo operated a bomb demilitarization and explosives recycling facility at the Louisiana National Guard facility at Camp Minden. In 2006, at least 10 explosions at the facility caused an evacuation of the town of Doyline and shut down Interstate 20. In 2007, the Mine Safety and Health Administration cited Explo for its use of old Army explosives in mining operations in West Virginia, where a blast with “outdated deteriorated military ordnance” injured one worker and exposed others to toxins.
On October 15, 2012, M6 artillery propellants exploded in an Explo underground bunker at Camp Minden. During a post-incident investigation, the Louisiana State Police (LSP) discovered Explo was illegally storing over 6 million pounds of M6 propellant. In November 2012, a State search warrant was executed at the Explo facility. The subsequent investigation revealed that approximately 100,000 pounds of TNT-contaminated materials; over 2,700 pounds of TNT-contaminated wastewater, known as “red/pink water;” and 15,682,874 pounds of M6 had been improperly stored at the Explo. In addition, to accommodate the storage of M6, Explo shipped reactive hazardous waste under false pretenses to third-party landfills.
As part of his guilty plea, Wright admitted that he and other Explo officials intentionally conspired to defraud the United States by impeding local, State, and Federal government agencies’ ability to oversee and monitor operations at the Explo facility. They also conspired to submit false End-user Certificates to the U.S Army, dispose of hazardous waste at unpermitted facilities, and improperly store explosives. To further the conspiracy, Wright and other Explo officials moved and improperly stored M6 propellant.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)–Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Army–Criminal Investigation Division, Department of Defense–Criminal Investigative Service, FBI, and LSP Emergency Service Unit.