TRENTON - The Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) initiative to crack down on illegal dumping in state parks and lands has yielded six more enforcement actions, all related to illegal dumping at Brendan T. Byrne State Forest in Pemberton Township, 4-Mile Run Preserve in Winslow Township and the Duck Island section of D&R Canal State Park in Hamilton Township.
The DEP's "Don't Waste Our Open Space" campaign was launched in late March. Since the launch, investigations of illegal dump sites on state properties by State Park Police, Division of Fish & Wildlife's Conservation Officers and DEP's Compliance & Enforcement personnel has resulted in 16 arrests or enforcement actions.
The program is a coordinated effort of a host of DEP agencies, including Parks, Fish & Wildlife, Solid Waste, Water Resources, State Forestry Services and the Natural Lands Trust. All activities of this new effort are posted on www.stopdumping.nj.gov, a new website that serves as a hub for the entire program
Recent enforcement actions for the illegal dumping initiative, all conducted by State Park Police Detective Timothy Kasony, include:
* Ronald Coleman, 50, of Trenton, was charged with illegal dumping at Duck Island and obstruction, stemming from an investigation of 12 contractor grade garbage bags filled with household debris left in an area of brush.
The contents of the bags were traced to a property owned by Coleman. The combined charges carry a maximum fine of $50,000.
* Reeyanah Davis, 32, and Ajeris Gains, 34, both of Sicklersville, have been charged with illegal dumping after discovery of eight large trash bags filled with kitchen and bathroom items, a box spring and mattress at 4-Mile Preserve, one of state's designated Natural Lands.
The contents of the bags, which included a check book and prescription bottles, were traced to a Sicklersville apartment where Davis and Gains formerly resided. Both suspects face a maximum fine of $25,000.
* William J. Larkin Jr., 38, formerly of Egg Harbor Township, has been charged with illegal dumping after discovery of a boat registered to him was found in the White's Bog portion of Brendan T. Byrne State Forest.
A warrant has been issued for Larkin for failing to appear in Pemberton Township Court. He faces a maximum fine of $25,000.
* Allan Alessi, 23, of Burlington and Laura Cornell, 19, of Browns Mills, were charged with a lesser count of illegal dumping due to a small amount of paper trash, found in the same section of the Brendan T. State Forest, which was traced back to them.
Alessi pled guilty to the charge and paid a $133 fine. A warrant was issued to Cornell for failing to appear in Pemberton Township Court.
* State Park Police are also looking for assistance in locating a suspect believed to be responsible for a large pile of garbage bags, household flooring, decking and painting materials dumped at Duck Island in May.
Contents of the materials were traced back to a contractor who had renovated a Trenton home. Removal of the debris was subcontracted to Marvin Agustin Perez, who has since been deported to Guatemala, and Grodoniel Espinosa Austin (nicknamed Emilio), who is believed to be living in the area of Butler Street in Trenton. Anyone with information regarding the suspect is asked to call Detective Kasony at (609) 292-2782.
The "Don't Waste Our Open Space'' campaign incorporates strict enforcement of illegal dumping practices, while raising awareness of the problem through outreach and education.
Strategically deployed motion-sensor cameras have been set up in select state parks and wildlife management areas to help nab violators. Information on arrests and charges filed in connection with illegal dumping will be posted on www.stopdumping.nj.gov.
The DEP is being aggressive in its pursuit of civil and criminal complaints against violators. Penalties for illegal dumping in state parks and in fish and wildlife areas will include criminal fines of up to $5,000 per violation and civil penalties of up to $1,500 per violation. In addition, the state also will seek much stiffer penalties for major violations through the Solid Waste Management Act, which authorizes the DEP and county health departments to initiate civil actions for illegal dumping violations.
Illegal dumping, which includes everything from unlawful disposal of construction debris and old TVs and computers to the dumping of car parts and tires-- and even entire vehicles -- has been a growing problem in the state's vast natural holdings in all 21 counties in recent years.
Nearly all of the state's more than 170 publicly owned tracts, including state parks, state forests, wildlife management areas, marinas, and natural lands and preserves, have been impacted by illegal dumping. These lands account for 813,000 acres of state-preserved open space.
For more information on state parks, forests and wildlife areas, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/ and http://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/