DEP Environmental Crimes Unit Makes Arrest



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DEP Environmental Crimes Unit Makes Arrest

~Basile Pertsas of Tampa arrested for illegal disposal of biomedical waste~

TAMPA, Fla. – Yesterday, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Southwest District Environmental Crimes Unit arrested Tampa resident and owner of Waste Alliance/ Sharps MD, Basile Pertsas. Pertsas was charged with 11 felony counts of littering for commercial purposes and economic gain; 11 misdemeanor counts of nuisance injurious to health; and, 11 misdemeanor counts of storage of bio-medical waste at non-permitted location. He was also charged with one felony count of violation of probation.

On Monday, July 29, 2019, following a complaint, DEP’s Office of Emergency Response (OER), served and obtained an Inspection Warrant for the Specialty Trailer Leasing storage location in Plant City.

Investigators found a total of 11 storage containers, including eight 53-foot trailer containers and three cargo shipping containers containing more than 50,000 pounds of untreated biomedical waste.

“Thanks to the vision and leadership of Governor DeSantis, since July 1, DEP’s new Division of Law Enforcement and Emergency Response has effectively joined forces with our regulatory staff to ensure Floridian’s safety. We will not tolerate purposeful harm to the environment or threat to public health”, said DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein. “By having law enforcement, emergency response and regulatory staff all under the same roof, we were able to expedite this investigation.”

DEP will hire a contractor to remove the biomedical waste and transport it to an approved disposal facility. Recovery of cleanup costs will be pursued through the legal process.

“This arrest is an example of the expertise of DEP’s Environmental Crime Unit and Office of Emergency Response,” said DEP Southwest District Director Mary Yeargan. “I am thankful for the dedication of these teams in the identification of
environmental crimes and ensuring they are being appropriately addressed.”

On January 10, 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 19-12, Achieving More Now for Florida’s Environment which directed the transfer of the Environmental Crimes Enforcement Unit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission back to DEP to better align resources focused on environmental protection and ensure strong enforcement of Florida's environmental laws.