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Two Minnesota Individuals Sentenced for Negligent Discharge of a Pollutant Into Minnesota Waters After Shooting at Pipeline

On October 6, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota sentenced Tanner J. Sik and Eric J. Weckwerth-Pineda each to 1 year of probation and a $25 special assessment. The co-defendants were also ordered to pay $1,138,772.06 in restitution, jointly and severally. On March 9, Sik and Weckwerth-Pineda pleaded guilty to negligent discharge of a pollutant. The investigation revealed that on or about April 24, 2019, in Lyon County, Minnesota, Sik and Weckwerth-Pineda took weapons to a bridge that spans a dam controlling outflow of water through Judicial Ditch 24, a federally regulated body of water under the Clean Water Act. From the bridge, they targeted, shot at, and punctured part of an oil pipeline carrying diesel fuel. An estimated 3,900 gallons of fuel spilled into Judicial Ditch 24 and the nearby Yellow Medicine River, causing approximately $1.1 million in damage and clean-up costs. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spent more than $16,000 to assist with the clean-up operation.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with EPA and assistance from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.