DENVER—Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced that Tri State Environmental Group and Aftermath Cleanup & Remediation Services, LLC, will pay fines totaling $1 million for failing to properly dispose of asbestos containing waste material (ACWM). The fine will be split evenly between the two asbestos abatement disposal companies. The owner of the companies, James Joseph Duran (D.O.B. 04/01/66), and the companies themselves were sentenced after all three plead guilty to the crime of Causing and Contributing to a Hazardous Substance Incident which is a felony under Colorado law.
An Arapahoe District Court judge sentenced Duran and his companies for criminal behavior that also violated Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s regulations regarding illegal storage of ACWM. The Environmental Crimes Unit of the Attorney General’s Office partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division and the CDPHE to investigate and prosecute the case.
“We take our obligation to protect Colorado’s environment seriously and are pleased when we secure convictions against those who harm it,” said Attorney General Suthers. “This conviction serves as a reminder that you cannot abandon asbestos in dumpsters and anyone doing so needs to be reported for committing a public health crime.”
Beginning in 2009, Duran began abandoning ACWM without following the proper safety procedures which caused a series of hazardous substance incidents. Duran and his companies also knowingly violated emissions regulations of the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission. Finally, Duran, Aftermath and Tri State knowingly concealed violations from law enforcement and CDPHE officials.
“Unsafe disposal of asbestos endangers human health,” said Jeffery Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division in Colorado. “This sentence is some measure of justice for the communities, businesses and individuals impacted by the defendant’s conduct. When businesses break the law, the EPA and its partners will step in to protect the health and welfare of the American people.”
James Duran pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 500 hours of community service and six years of probation. He was also ordered to pay $2,538 in restitution. Both Aftermath Cleanup & Remediation Services and Tri State Environmental Group pleaded guilty and were each sentenced to a $500,000 fine.
The Environmental Crimes Unit of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the CDPHE, all members of the Colorado Environmental Task Force, investigated a series of crimes that brought Duran and his companies to justice.
The public is urged to report environmental crime to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or to the Environmental Crimes Unit of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.
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