AG Gansler Secures Conviction in Kent County Oil Dumping Case
Cecil County man pleads to polluting Millington Wildlife Management Area
Baltimore, MD ( July 31, 2013) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that Harold Dean Coleman, Jr., 35, of Cecilton, pleaded guilty to illegally dumping oil into the waters of the Millington Wildlife Area in Kent County and defacing the land of a state wildlife area. Kent County Circuit Court Judge Paul M. Bowman sentenced Coleman to six months incarceration with all but four days suspended, imposed a $10,000 fine with all but $5,000 suspended, ordered 50 hours of community service and placed Coleman on two years probation.
"The Chesapeake Bay and its watershed face enough challenges without the damage done by the deliberate dumping of toxic chemicals," said Attorney General Gansler. "This office will aggressively prosecute anyone who shows such disregard for the health and safety of our state waters and the communities that depend on them."
In the pre-dawn hours of April 5, 2011, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) employee Edmund Cook came upon an oil tanker parked on the wrong side of Black Bottom Road in the Millington Wildlife Management Area. Mr. Cook saw two men jump quickly into the waste oil tanker truck that was parked at an angle alongside a drainage ditch. After Mr. Cook turned around to investigate, he detected the strong smell of oil and observed an oil discharge in the ditch.
The suspects were spotted attempting to turn around in a parking lot where identifying information -- Richland Oil Refining – was seen on the truck door. Later, the Maryland Department of the Environment's Emergency Response Division discovered substantial amounts of petroleum in the ditch that was flowing into a marshy area, which feeds into a nearby stream. Measures were taken to prevent the further spread of oil and Maryland Natural Resources Police Officer Ross D. Harper conducted interviews that identified Coleman as the passenger in the waste oil tanker truck.
This conviction follows a joint investigation conducted by Attorney General Gansler's Environmental Crimes Unit (ECU) and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources with the assistance of the Maryland Department of the Environment's Emergency Response Division.
In making the announcement, Attorney General Gansler thanked ECU Deputy Chief Jay Elliot Robinson, ECU investigator Bill Schmidt and DNR Police Officer Ross Harper for their work on the case.