Fallbrook Man Indicted in Utah Over Toxic Waste

From Staff and Wire Reports

A Fallbrook man and his defunct storage firm were indicted Thursday in Utah on federal charges of conspiring to illegally dispose of hazardous wastes, including surplus napalm bombs from the Fallbrook Naval Weapons Station.

"This case represents perhaps the most serious type of environmental misconduct," U. S. Atty. Gen. Dick Thornburgh said.

Named in the 12-count grand jury indictment in Salt Lake City were EKOTEK and Steven M. Self, the company's president and sole registered agent. The company was involuntarily dissolved by the state of California on Nov. 1 for alleged violations of environmental health laws.

Self could not be reached for comment.

The indictment alleges that the company knowingly burned, poured and stored a variety of hazardous wastes in violation of an array of state and federal laws.

Company Vice President Steven F. Miller pleaded guilty Wednesday to three felony charges of conspiracy and violations of federal resource conservation and recovery laws and the Clean Water Act, Thornburgh said.

Miller, of San Francisco, was allowed to plead guilty in exchange for his cooperation in the prosecution of Self, officials said. Neither Self nor Miller was in custody Thursday.

If convicted on all charges, the defendants face fines of more than $24 million, and Self could be sentenced to up to 45 years in prison.

The indictment, the first federal prosecution of environmental crime in Utah, alleges that the defendants purchased millions of gallons of oils and solvents and burned them as fuel in their refinery in northern Salt Lake City.

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