AG Gansler: Two Plead Guilty in Illegal Tire Dump Case
Caroline County property was site of unlawful disposal and burning
Baltimore, MD ( Dec. 13, 2012) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that two individuals pleaded guilty to multiple criminal counts of environmental violations involving the illegal transportation and dumping of scrap tires. Gerald Allaband, of Marydel, Delaware, pleaded guilty to one count of illegally transporting and dumping scrap tires. The dump site was located on the property of Homer Gibbs, Jr., of Marydel, Maryland, who pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal environmental violations for maintaining an illegal refuse disposal site, operating an illegal open dump and illegally accepting and storing scrap tires on his property.
"The illegal dumping and burning of tires threatens the health and property values of the entire community," said Attorney General Gansler. "The laws of Maryland provide for a safe and proper way to dispose of scrap tires and we will aggressively prosecute those whose illegal acts place Marylanders and their property at risk."
Caroline County Circuit Court Judge Karen Jensen sentenced Allaband to 30 days incarceration, all of which was suspended, and fined him $15,000 with all but $5,000 suspended. Gibbs, Jr. was sentenced to 6 months incarceration, all of which was suspended, and fined him $25,000 with all but $5,000 suspended. Gibbs, Jr. must also complete 300 hours of community service. Both men were placed on five years probation.
On April 11, Allaband was stopped by the Caroline County Sheriff's Department after a call reported the dumping of tires on Gibbs' property. The Office of the Attorney General's Environmental Crimes Unit was contacted to conduct a follow-up investigation. During the course of the investigation, it was learned that Allaband had an agreement to remove tires from another property. When Allaband decided he wouldn't make any money by properly disposing the tires, he contacted Gibbs, Jr., who agreed to take the scrap tires on his property for a fee.
On April 12, Bill Schmidt, investigator for the Office of the Attorney General went to the site to make contact with Gibbs, Jr. He observed evidence of potential tire burning and multiple scrap tire dump sites. It was determined that there were over 3,000 tires on three separate sites.
Illegal open dumps can be a source for rodent and insect infestation that can cause severe illnesses to residents. There is significant concern, especially in rural areas, that runoff from illegal dumps can contaminate wells and ground water in the area. Illegal dumps are also a danger because they may cause flooding issues and fires.
In making the announcement, Attorney General Gansler thanked Michelle Barnes, Chief of the Environmental Crimes Unit, and Bill Schmidt for their work on the case. This case was handled in conjunction with the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Caroline County Sheriff's Department.