For Immediate Release - April 09, 2014

Milford Man Ordered to Pay $5,000 Fine, Serve Four Years of Probation for Illegal Dumping in Bellingham

BOSTON - A Milford man charged with illegally dumping solid waste in an open-space area in Bellingham has been sentenced in Worcester District Court to serve four years of probation and pay a $5,000 fine. James Dias, 33, who had advertised on Craigslist as providing "clean-out services" for a fee, then illegally dumped an estimated 50 tons of debris over several months in Bellingham.  

As a result of the court case, Dias must also secure and maintain full-time employment and his truck, which was used to carry the waste materials, has been impounded and forfeited.

The case was a joint investigation by the Environmental Strike Force (ESF) in the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), the Bellingham Police Department and the Office of Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early.

In addition to the charge of illegal dumping of solid waste, Dias has agreed to sufficient facts on the charges of criminal trespassing, operating a motor-vehicle with a suspended license and vandalism to a property, which is a felony.  

Initially, a Bellingham resident spotted a large debris area in April 2013, and notified the Bellingham Police Department. Bellingham Police Officer Stephen Daigle alerted MassDEP's ESF, and the origin of the waste was traced back to certain residents who had hired a local clean-out service that was promoted on Craigslist. Hidden cameras were installed near the debris area and on May 10, 2013, Dias was observed dumping waste in the area and he was subsequently arrested, charged and prosecuted.

"Officer Daigle did an outstanding job on investigating this case and is to be commended for his actions," said Bellingham Police Chief Gerard L. Daigle.

"Illegal dumping can contain hazardous materials, or by sheer volume of the dumped material, create adverse environmental impacts and visual blight. Illegally dumped material can also become breeding grounds for vermin and other vectors of disease," said MassDEP Strike Force Director Pamela Talbot. "Our Strike Force will continue to partner with municipal police forces across the Commonwealth to provide technical and investigative assistance in cases of illegal dumping, and help bring violators to justice."

Anyone who witnesses illegal dumping of solid waste or other hazardous materials can call MassDEP's Environmental Strike Force hotline at 1-800-VIOLATE.

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

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