8 Truck Drivers Busted in Bottle and Can Smuggling Sting

Out-of-State Container Crackdown Prevents $87,000 in CRV Fraud 

Media Contact: Lance Klug
(916) 341-6293 | Lance.Klug@calrecycle.ca.gov 

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery today announced the arrest of eight truck drivers on charges of felony recycling fraud, conspiracy, and attempted grand theft. Agents with the California Department of Justice’s Recycle Fraud Team made the arrests during a three-day sting operation near the Arizona border with San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

The suspects are accused of smuggling nearly 59,000 pounds of empty beverage containers from Arizona into California in an attempt to defraud the California Redemption Value Fund of more than $87,000. Since consumers outside California do not pay CRV fees on beverage purchases, out-of-state containers are not eligible for CRV redemptions.

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CalRecycle photos of evidence gathered at a Blythe, Calif. checkpoint during CDOJ’s three-day recycling fraud interdiction operation in January 2018. 

“Importing out-of-state empty beverage containers for CRV redemption is a crime,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “To prevent this type of fraud, drivers transporting empty bottles and cans into California are required to pass through one of CDFA’s 16 border inspection stations—and CalRecycle is working alongside our law enforcement partners to make sure that happens.”

In coordination with CalRecycle and the California Department of Food and Agriculture, California DOJ agents conducted the targeted operation from January 23 through January 25, 2018, at CDFA border protection stations in Vidal and Blythe, Calif.

Under California law, drivers transporting out-of-state empty beverage containers are required to declare the material by submitting an Imported Materials Report at one of 16 CDFA border inspection stations across the state. It is a violation of the law if vehicle operators:

  • Fail to stop at a CDFA border inspection station
  • Willfully avoid a CDFA border inspection station
  • Refuse to allow inspection of loads containing empty beverage containers
  • Knowingly submit false information

As a result of the California DOJ operations, the following drivers were arrested and booked at the Riverside County Jail: Tim Bristol, 55, of Tucson, Ariz.; Miguel Dominguez-Lopez, 40, of Los Angeles, Calif.; Henry Juarez, 53, of Oxnard, Calif.; Oscar Lopez, 62, of Mesa, Ariz.; Jose Mineros, 45, of Rialto, Calif.; Tony Perez, 21, of Phoenix, Ariz.; Eduardo Pineda Salcedo, 27, of Perris, Calif.; and Eduardo Siordia, 46, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Material Seized, Amount, and Potential CRV Value:

  • Aluminum Used Beverage Containers: 38,890 lbs., $62,224.00
  • Plastic Used Beverage Containers, 20,007  lbs., $24,808.68
  • Total: 58,897 lbs., $87,032.68

In addition to financial consequences, convictions for recycling fraud and related crimes can carry sentences ranging from six months to three years behind bars. 

CalRecycle’s Beverage Container Recycling Program Fraud Prevention Measures

In addition to CalRecycle’s interagency agreements with CA DOJ and CDFA, CalRecycle aggressively combats fraud and illicit payments in the Beverage Container Recycling Program through enhanced precertification training of recycling center owners; probationary reviews of recycling centers; oversight of certified processors; monitoring and tracking of imported materials; risk assessments of daily claims for reimbursement; daily load limits; application of prepayment controls; and post-payment reviews and investigations.

— Lance Klug
Posted on Apr 30, 2018

Summary: The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery today announced the arrest of eight truck drivers on charges of felony recycling fraud, conspiracy, and attempted grand theft. Agents with the California Department of Justice’s Recycle Fraud Team made the arrests during a three-day sting operation near the Arizona border with San Bernardino and Riverside counties.