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Need to Know

California Makes First Recycling Fraud Border Bust of 2017

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Agents apprehended a truck driver as he attempted to smuggle nearly 7,000 pounds of containers into California.

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) announced  the arrest of a California truck driver suspected of felony recycling fraud, attempted grand theft and conspiracy.

Agents with the California Department of Justice’s (CDOJ) Recycling Fraud Team apprehended the truck driver as he attempted to smuggle nearly 7,000 pounds of used beverage containers from Phoenix, Ariz., to the Los Angeles area with the intent to defraud the California Redemption Value Program.

“With help from our enforcement partners at CDOJ and the California Department of Food and Agriculture, CalRecycle’s anti-fraud efforts prevented potentially $10,174 in fraudulent CRV payments,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “We’ll continue to do what’s necessary to address fraud and fraud risk so that we can ensure a financially sound recycling program for California consumers and the recycling opportunities they have come to expect.”

On Jan. 10, agents at the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) border checkpoint in Blythe, Calif., inspected a tractor-trailer driven by Eduardo Herrera, 27, of Corona. Herrera failed to produce a bill of lading and claimed his 53-foot trailer was empty.

Agents inspected Herrera’s trailer and discovered bags filled with used beverage containers. They immediately requested assistance from CDOJ’s Recycling Fraud Team. Herrera failed to produce an Imported Materials Report, required by law when transporting used beverage containers into California.  Agents placed Herrera under arrest and impounded his tractor-trailer.

The suspect told CDOJ agents he picked up the trailer at a lot in Phoenix after a “buddy” requested its transport to California. Herrera said he was planning to deliver the load to a gated yard in the Los Angeles area, but he said the exact location of the yard was still unknown to him at that time.

A subsequent examination of the trailer revealed 5,563 pounds of aluminum used beverage containers with a potential CRV value of $8,734 and 1,200 pounds of plastic used beverage containers with a potential CRV value of $1,440. The case is now in the hands of the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office to determine formal charges.

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