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Truck drivers arrested in sting for aluminum recycling fraud
hwtstaff | April 16, 2017
CalRecycle photo of aluminum cans seized during March 16 sting near Intake Blvd. and Hobson Way in Blythe, Calif.
CalRecycle photo of aluminum cans seized during
March 16 sting near Intake Blvd. and
Hobson Way in Blythe, Calif.

A recent sting in California led to the arrest of drivers who had allegedly planned to cash-in on truck loads of aluminum cans through the state’s high-paying recycling program.

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery joined the California Department of Justice and the California Department of Food and Agriculture in a week-long sting which netted nearly 15,000 pounds of aluminum cans that had left Arizona and were destined for California recycling centers, according to calrecycle.ca.gov.

The cans were valued at around $20,000.

The California Redemption Value (CRV) Fund is only available for recyclable containers purchased in the state. Consumers there pay a CRV fee for each qualifying container and then can recoup that cost later at a state certified recycling center.

“CalRecycle’s fraud prevention reforms and substantial network of enforcement partners make it increasingly risky for those attempting to defraud California’s Redemption Value Program,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “The department will continue to use all available resources to make sure CRV deposits go back to California consumers and not in the pockets of criminal enterprises.”

The sting centered on the CDFA border checkpoint in Blythe, Calif., and the nearby intersection of Agnes Wilson Road and Highway 95, a route often used to circumvent the border checkpoint.

On March 14, CDFA agents at the border checkpoint discovered a fraudulent Imported Material Report and false Bill of Lading provided by Balmore Alvarado, 49, of Chino, Calif., as he entered California from Arizona. A subsequent inspection of Alvarado’s trailer revealed 7,020 pounds of used beverage containers with a potential CRV refund value of $10,275.85.

On March 16, CDOJ Recycling Fraud Team agents conducted surveillance on a semi-truck, found to be importing used beverage containers from Parker, Ariz., into Blythe, Calif., via Agnes Wilson Road. CDOJ agents confronted Anthony Sanchez, 56, of Tucson, Ariz., and discovered his trailer filled with 7,675 pounds of used beverage containers with a potential CRV refund value of $9,636.79. Sanchez also presented a fraudulent Bill of Lading and did not have an Imported Material Report, requirement for anyone who transports used beverage containers into California.

Both drivers face charges of felony recycling fraud, attempted grand theft, filing a false or forged document, and conspiracy. If convicted, the men could be subject to financial penalties and incarceration. The charges carry a sentence of between six months and three years.

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