Business owner pleads guilty to 9 million pound haz-mat violation

A guilty plea was reached in federal court by a man admitting to polluting a site in Franklin County with heavy metals, including Chromium, Cadmium, and Lead.

The owner of a business that provided blasting materials for paint removal has pleaded guilty to entering into a conspiracy with a Franklin County man to dispose of nine million pounds of material contaminated with heavy metals illegally through a business in Berger.

70-year-old Raymond Williams pleaded guilty to contacting Darryl Duncan about his need to dispose of the waste, which was contaminated with cadmium, chromium, and lead. Duncan agreed to set up a business with the express intent of using it to dispose of the waste illegally.

In Williams' plea, he admitted transporting the waste from Yazoo City, Miss., to the Berger facility, which he knew did not have a permit; he admitted knowingly and voluntarily agreeing to enter the agreement; and he admitted to one of several questionable acts in furtherance of the conspiracy.

Williams agreed to pay a fine of $1.5 million for the expenses occurred in cleaning up the contamination.

Williams had earlier this year pleaded guilty in Georgia of bribing a public official. According to the plea agreement, Williams bribed a Department of Defense official at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia to steer business to Williams’ companies, which are now inactive.

The conspiracy lasted almost 10 years and involved $870,000 in payments to the official, Mark E. Cundiff, and others.

In return, Williams received at least $14.45 million in benefits from Cundiff’s influence over contracts until Cundiff retired in 2014.

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