Hauler fined $243,000 for leaving toxic items in Ripon

Los Angeles TimesJanuary 28, 2014 

A man accused of illegally storing more than 200 drums of hazardous waste at a Ripon truck stop has been fined $243,000 and is barred for life from transporting such toxic materials, state regulators said Monday.

In a civil complaint filed last year, the Department of Toxic Substances Control accused Jose G. Sosa of abandoning 228 drums filled with spent aerosol cans, flammable propellants, used motor oil and substances containing mercury. Local police found the drums in a trailer parked at Jimco Truck Plaza in Ripon in 2010.

Investigators learned that much of the same waste had been dumped before, in 2004 in Alameda County, according to San Joaquin County officials.

At that time, Sosa told authorities he would dispose of the waste properly, but he did not, officials told The Times for an investigative report last year about flaws in the state’s hazardous waste tracking system.

When the same load of toxics turned up in Ripon, Sosa told investigators he’d abandoned the trailer after his trucking business failed.

The California attorney general’s office, which brought the case on behalf of toxics regulators, obtained a default judgment against Sosa in San Joaquin County Superior Court.

Sosa could not be reached for comment.

“This case is another example of the efforts of DTSC’s Office of Criminal Investigations to respond to requests for assistance from local law enforcement and to stop the mismanagement of hazardous wastes,” said Reed Sato, the agency’s chief counsel.

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