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PORT HUENEME : Former Clinic Courier Held in Dumping

A 25-year-old Port Hueneme man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of dumping infectious waste behind a condominium complex in March.

Pernell Winbush was being held on two counts of disposal of hazardous wastes without a permit, a felony violation of the Health and Safety Code that carries a sentence of up to three years in prison.

Winbush was a courier for Buenaventura Medical Clinic Inc.--which has locations in Ventura, Oxnard and Camarillo--when 80 pounds of infectious waste was found in a trash bin behind condominiums at Channel Islands Boulevard and Bolker Drive, said Sgt. Dennis Fitzgerald of the Port Hueneme Police Department.

A woman searching for aluminum cans discovered the trash bags full of hypodermic needles, more than 100 vials of blood, and cultures used to test for a variety of diseases, Fitzgerald said. Such waste has the potential to spread diseases such as hepatitis and AIDS, said Thomas C. Becker, administrator of the clinics.

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Police traced the dumping to Winbush after learning that his brother-in-law lives in the condominium complex, Fitzgerald said.

Police believe that Winbush acted out of laziness, preferring to dump the waste rather than deliver it to Community Memorial Hospital of San Buenaventura.

Winbush is no longer employed at the clinic.


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