Man Charged In Longview Trash Abatement Case - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/4/05-Longview

Man Charged In Longview Trash Abatement Case

A Longview man could be the first man in Texas to face prison time over the Texas Litter Abatement Act. He's accused of having tons of garbage piled up at his business.

"When I saw this large three piles of trash my first thought was, this guy's operating a landfill," said Longview Environmental Health Inspector Darren Mixon, who has investigated the case.

Waste barrels, tires, appliances, even deer carcasses were among the trash.

"We know that leaving this sort of stuff lying around for months on end leeches into the ground and gets into our water table," Mixon says.

Globe Signs business owner Jeffery Wright could face prison time in what may become Gregg County's first Litter Abatement case. Wright was arrested in November for theft by check, failure to remove junk, and disposal of solid waste on a public highway. Investigators say they have warned Wright several times, given him numerous citations, but received no action.

"Fourteen months is what we're looking at length of investigation into this case. I talked with him in person and asked him that we needed to get this situation resolved, and he just basically ignored me."

But Wright's attorney says Wright has burned all his trash every year, but this year was not given a permit by the city. Complicating the matter, Wright is serving a decade-long probation sentence for a DUI conviction in 1997. Regardless, investigators say a message is being sent in this case about trashing East Texas.

"We're very serious about this and if you don't believe it just try it. You might could serve some prison time over this," Mixon says.

Wright faces up to 10 years in prison if his probation is revoked. Conviction on the Texas Litter Abatement Act could result in a two-year prison term in itself. The case is scheduled to continue in a Longview court on Tuesday.

Bob Hallmark, reporting. bhallmark@kltv.com

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