Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.

February 15, 2002 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357


Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today the sentencing of a Baltimore City man as part of the Attorney General's initiative to combat illegal tire dumping in Baltimore City. Damon Benner, 24 of the 1600 block of East Lanvale Street, was sentenced to three years supervised probation and was ordered to perform 120 hours of community service for his role in the illegal dumping of tires on September 28, 2000. Benner had previously plead guilty to acting as a "look out" for another individual who dumped in excess of 500 pounds of scrap tires in the 5700 block of Sinclair Lane on that date.

Benner is the fifth individual convicted as part of the two-year-old initiative,"Operation Tire Track", which targets both tire dumpers and tire store owners who illegally use licensed and unlicensed haulers. The cooperative program was developed by Attorney General Curran's Environmental Crimes Unit, the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Baltimore City Department of Public Works, with assistance from the Baltimore City Police Department and the Maryland State Police.

"We will continue to work together to punish those who illegally dump tires on the streets of East Baltimore and other areas in Maryland," Attorney General Curran said. "This is a chronic problem which poses serious health and environmental risks, which will not be tolerated by the law enforcement community."

Additional defendants are pending trial.

By law, scrap tires must be collected and disposed of only at licensed facilities, which charge a fee for the disposal of tires. Those who haul scrap tires must also be licensed by the state. Tire stores and other commercial establishments that accumulate scrap tires must keep records showing where their scrap tires are shipped, the number of tires and the identity of the licensed hauler. Unlicensed haulers have been collecting tires from commercial establishments and dumping them on city-owned and private properties in Baltimore.