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Truck Driver Arrested After Attempting to Smuggle $11K of Recyclables Into California

by Jana Ritter - Published: 8/10/2016

A truck driver has been arrested for allegedly attempting to defraud the California Redemption Value recycling system after law enforcement caught him transporting 7,000 pounds of bottles and cans worth an estimated $11,000 across the border from Arizona. He is charged with felony recycling fraud, attempted grand theft and conspiracy. If convicted, he faces six months to three years in prison.

                                                       truck driver arrested in recycling scam

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The California Department of Justice Recycling Fraud Team agents had tracked 40 year-old Julio Bolanos from Phoenix, where they had witnessed used beverage containers being loaded into a semi-truck on July 19. They tracked the semi-truck as it headed towards California and then suddenly take a 70-mile detour to avoid the border control checkpoint in Blythe, CA. The Fraud Team agents alerted the California Highway Patrol to stop the truck and see if the driver had the required shipment receipt or imported material report needed to transport used beverage containers into California. Sure enough, he didn't have either document.

                                                      recyclables are brought to secret storage locations

According to Mark Oldfield of CalRecycle, people have been trying to play this game with the California recycling system for a few years now. He says that most come in from Arizona and Nevada, but they’ve also been seeing people bringing in recyclables from as far away as Washington. “The problem is there’s no recycling incentive in those states,” Oldfield says. He explains that people often buy bulk loads of used beverage containers at a low price from scrap dealers outside California who turn a blind eye to the illegal operations if it means making a profit. Or, there are also entire criminal rings involved in the scam. The truck drivers usually take the cargo over the border to a storage location and from there; they split it into smaller loads to be traded in for cash at local recycling centers. Oldfield says that it's become so common that California has set up the fraud team to curb the problem. “It’s a big state and an ongoing problem, but we’re bringing to bear all the resources available to try and stop it.”

In 2015 alone, the recycling fraud teams helped with the arrests of eight truck drivers carrying $108,000 worth of recycling materials and a number of similar arrests have already occurred this year. “Our enforcement partners will continue to follow every lead, monitor suspected traffickers and disrupt these criminal organizations before they have a chance to rip off California consumers,” CalRecycle Director, Scott Smithline said.


Mark Newby
Mark Newby
The dark Seedy underbelly of recycling lol
Trucking Unlimited
Trucking Unlimited
haha : )
Mike Nejedlo
Mike Nejedlo
ROFLMFAO!
Victor Collins
Victor Collins
There are a lot of holes in this report, other then not having the proper paperwork, there doesn't appear to be any evidence that this driver was attempting to defraud the California consumers of anything. There was a report a week ago that there was an arrest made up around the Great Lakes (forgot which state) but they had to let the driver go because he even admitted that he was going to cash them in but he didn't say where, therefore could not prove the intent to defraud anyone.
Software Scripts
Software Scripts
heck yes
Andy Turner
Andy Turner
Any reasonable person who sees that many bottles and cans being brought into California is going to suspect fraud is about to be committed. Just saying.
Victor Collins
Victor Collins
Andy Turner, but it might not fraud, just saying.
Michael Maccario
Michael Maccario
70 miles out of route to avoid the port of entry into California. Higher return rate. And the company has been busted before. Good enough
Victor Collins
Victor Collins
Michael Maccario, I don't know where your coming from. I base my comments on what is posted in they article. So now that you have additional information, good for you. I stand by my post, so no not good enough.
Mike Nejedlo
Mike Nejedlo
Kommiefornia
Victor Collins
Victor Collins
Michael Maccario, also until he tries to turn them in, he has not committed a crime, other then maybe some paperwork issues. That would be like arresting you because you might do something illegal. So is that good enough?
Wayne Leavitt
Wayne Leavitt
This is libtard California for you, pass the carb laws then not enforce anything on local trucks- might help if people in California started voting for republicans!
Brett Ruge
Brett Ruge
So the state that's all about recycling wants to jail someone for recycling?
Software Scripts
Software Scripts
Anything about is really important
Brian Gosvener
Brian Gosvener
Obviously they don't really care about the earth .. they only care if the product was bought in Cali They only care about $$$$
Eddie Venatta
Eddie Venatta
So did they destroy the alleged contraband? Or did they turn it in themselves and keep the money.
Jake Jude
Jake Jude
If he never turned it in, then he can say he was just joy riding. Innocent until proven guilty.
Dawayne A Brice
Dawayne A Brice
You going to find every way you can to make money in California
Jeff Lovan
Jeff Lovan
Wow now you can't even recycle in California
Jim Hibbs
Jim Hibbs
Wasn't their a Seinfeld episode where Newman and Kramer did this using Newman's mail truck.
Brett Ruge
Brett Ruge
Yes they were going to Michigan for the 10 cent bottle refund
Britton Love
Britton Love
Wow.. a whole $108k in one year! I wonder how many people are on the "team", and how much they get paid??
Cody Joe
Cody Joe
But but...... They want us to comply with all their other carb bullshit.
Jeff Laurens
Jeff Laurens
Alright... Now I am going to have to smuggle me some recyclables in...!
Ricky L. Hulme
Ricky L. Hulme
So,,, does this mean that they will arrest every teen-ager that drives across the country to go to collage in California???
Dennis Bergholz
Dennis Bergholz
The hell with California bottom line
Mike Gatchell
Mike Gatchell
Would of been cheaper to litter...ffs
David Bright
David Bright
Screw that suck state anyway !
Lorraine McClure Whitman
Lorraine McClure Whitman
Smh.....a felony for recycling? Shit you can kill someone with a car and it's only a misdemeanor in CA. (Girl killed two guys on bikes while texting and nothing). Our world is screwed up.
Gladys Conner
Gladys Conner
Good Lord, I need to worry about this??????
Jeremy Harville
Jeremy Harville
He was trying to do the right thing
Kate Campbell
Kate Campbell
Oh the horror.
Beth Howells
Beth Howells
You cant take it from one state that dont pay the return to another for the cash .you have to live in that state thats how its defrauding the state
Josh Cronch
Josh Cronch
What if I drive a truck to California daily, buy pop from stores in California but live in Nevada.. am I defrauding the state by returning my bottles to CA?
Victor Collins
Victor Collins
Every where I park, I live, so how do not live in any state that I park in?
Craig Hollis
Craig Hollis
That's a crock. Recycling is recycling.
Andy Turner
Andy Turner
Victor Collins If someone lives in their car, does that mean Walmart is their residence if they sleep in the parking lot?
Victor Collins
Victor Collins
Andy Turner, yes it sure does. I know because I live in my truck and it is my home.
Jack Buckwalter
Jack Buckwalter
Carlos Tamayo