Feb 12, 2015
Baton Rouge - A Zachary man was sentenced Wednesday, Feb. 4, in the 18th Judicial District Court for violating Louisiana’s Environmental Quality Act. Leon Wallace, 58, of 23291 Plank Road, Zachary, illegally dumped gasoline and diesel fuel behind a Port Allen video poker casino in January 2013.
Wallace was arrested in March 2013 when investigators with DEQ’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Office of Inspector General found a large area of diesel fuel and gasoline contaminated soil behind the Super Lucky Louie Casino, 1256 U.S. 190 in Port Allen. Information received by the DEQ-Criminal Investigation Division revealed that Wallace drove a tanker truck for ACM Transportation at the time of the incident. While loading gasoline and diesel fuel into his tanker truck at Placid Refinery on the night of Jan. 25, 2013, Wallace mistakenly mixed several hundred gallons of diesel with several thousand gallons of gasoline already in the tanker truck. In an effort to conceal his mistake from his employer, Wallace then drove to the Super Lucky Louie Casino and dumped an unknown portion of the gasoline and diesel mixture at the rear of the facility.
Wallace pleaded guilty Feb. 4, 2015, in 18th Judicial District Court and was sentenced. In accepting Wallace’s plea, Judge J. Robin Free, 18th Judicial District Judge, ordered him to pay a $5,000 fine and reimburse the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality in the amount of $970 for the cost of its investigation. Judge Free sentenced Wallace to two years of probation. The contaminated property has since been remediated in accordance with DEQ regulations.
“This agency is committed to finding and prosecuting people who commit this type of environmental crime,” said DEQ Secretary Peggy Hatch. “No one should think they can get away with the illegal dumping of pollutants in Louisiana.”
The case was prosecuted by District Attorney Ricky Ward and Assistant District Attorney Becky Chustz. The mission of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is to protect the environment and public health. Any persons with knowledge of any spills, releases, odors, fish kills, open burning, waste tires and any other types of environmental incidents may contact the department at 225-219-3640 or toll-free at 1-888- 763-5424. Citizens may also report an environmentally-related incident online at DEQ’s website: www.deq.louisiana.gov/apps/forms/irf/forms.