The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Fugitive website assists law enforcement with bringing environmental law violators to justice. One top 20 EPA fugitive apprehended in Malta and brought before California federal Judge for Clean Water Act charges.
United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) federal fugitive website aides California government attorneys to bring law violators to justice.
San Francisco, CA–The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) http://www.epa.gov issued an announcement on Tuesday, August 11, 2009. Officials with the federal agency announced fugitive Robert Fred Smith was brought before the District Court Southern District of California in San Diego by government lawyers this week. Smith has been an accused environmental law fugitive since 2006 based on allegations of violating the Clean Water Act. Smith surrendered to law enforcement officials in Malta on July 25, 2009, and appeared before the court and he is one of the top 20 current federal fugitives on the EPA’s Fugitive Website http://www.epa.gov/fugitives.
The federal agency’s fugitive list, easily accessed through the Internet, was designed to assist law enforcement agencies, with public help, in locating and returning fugitives accused of violating environmental laws who have been evading arrest. The Director of the EPA’s Office of Criminal Enforcement, Forensics and Training formally thanked the Government of Malta for their assistance and cooperation in returning Smith to the U.S. to face the American justice system in a court of law for the charges brought by government attorneys for the people against Smith.
According to federal court documents filed by attorneys for the government, after an extensive investigation by several federal agencies, a six-count indictment was returned on August 10, 2007, in the Southern District of California against Smith for conspiracy, unlawful discharge of pollutants, unlawful discharge of plastics and three counts of false statements. The EPA website states Mr. Smith worked for Joseph O’Connor who is President of a ship brokering business based in Malta, Britannia Shipping International. The U.S. Coast Guard was alerted that O’Connor, who is also the owner of Britannia Shipping International and a F/V Maru, 150-foot fishing vessel, was renovating the ship while it was docked in San Diego. Smith participated in the renovation and demolition work and dumped concrete, waste, scrap metal, and grinding waste into the waterway at the dock during the night. These types of actions clearly violates the Clean Water Act. The indictment also named Britannia Shipping, LTD, LLC, and President/Owner Joseph O’Connor in the allegations outlined in the federal legal action. The EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID), Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents in Malta, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and a “Wanted Persons Diffusion and Red Notice” issued by Interpol, plus the Government of Malta led to Mr. Smith turning himself into law enforcement officials after the arrest of O’Connor, in Malta on July 15, 2009. O’Connor remains in custody while going through extradition.
Environmental violations education by social responsibility legal news reporter, Heather L. Ryan.