Illegal Dumpsite May Be Part Of A Money-Making Scheme - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/9/06-Smith County

Illegal Dumpsite May Be Part Of A Money-Making Scheme

The largest illegal dumpsite in Smith County may have been part of a money-making scheme. The  eight acres of trash is just outside the Tyler City limits off Highway 69 on County Road 489.

Wednesday night, investigators made the first of several planned arrests. Now, they say someone may have been charging people to dump their garbage on the property. Landowners had no idea their property was being used as an illegal dumping ground.

"They pay a certain amount to a property occupant on County Road 489 and then they would let them go down in there and dump," says Smith County Environmental Investigator Danny Brasher.

He says that's how people knew about the dumpsite. "A previous occupant that is no longer there was charging. Evidently, people knew about that dump site. Just from that transactions, they continued to dump even after those people moved away," says Brasher.

The site covers three different property lines. Richard Campbell of Lindale says his wife inherited part of that land a year and a half ago. "We just found out that we inherited the trash this morning. We were in the process of trying to get is sold but we will have to get it surveyed now just to see what our liabilities are for the illegal dumping," says Campbell.

He hopes investigators find the illegal dumpers. "I would hope that the justice system prevails and that the property owners are not fined especially when we didn't know about it." says Campbell.

Officials tell us there are more than a thousand tires piled up. They're now investigating whether a local business was illegal disposing the tires. "To me it looks like a tire company. We have some evidence off some of the tires, stickers like you see on tires. We are going take those off and match those up some of the other evidence that we have from tires that have been dumped around the county. Then we do have a suspect and we are go and check and see if that sticker is on his tires," says Brasher.

Matching the stickers may lead to a hefty fine. Right now, early estimates to clean up the trash total at least $100,000.

However, taxpayers won't have to pay for it. Instead, the county will get that money from a half-million dollar fine they've received. After the people who illegally dumped their trash pay their fines, that money will go back into the grant.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.


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