SLED busts seven in alleged trash recycle scam

jmonk@thestate.comSeptember 11, 2013 

— SLED agents have arrested seven former employees of national garbage companies and charged them with stealing company metal containers to sell to a Hampton County recycling center.

The seven men were allegedly pilfering containers from several Lowcountry counties and taking them to Simco Recycling Center in Yemassee, a small town just off I-95 northwest of Beaufort, according to law officials and warrants in the case.

In all, the men separately brought at least 40 metal containers to Simco over a four-month period from last fall through January. They received more than $19,000 in all for the containers, according to warrants.

Hampton County Sheriff Thomas “T.C.” Smalls said Wednesday that officials from the national garbage companies Republic and Waste Management came to him awhile back to him to tell him about missing containers. The containers were the large metal bins that businesses use for trash that are picked up by dump trucks.

Realizing that the problem involved several counties, and that his 31-employee Sheriff’s Department probably couldn’t handle the situation, Smalls called on SLED, the 500-employee state detective agency. One of SLED’s priorities under Chief Mark Keel is to assist local law agencies in investigations when they need help.

SLED sent in agents, who put together the case.

Republic Services operates major landfills in the Midlands area, including one near Cook’s Mountain in Lower Richland and one in Lee County. Waste Management operates the Screaming Eagle Road landfill in Richland County. Republic is headquartered in Arizona; Waste Management, in Texas.

Charged with felony breach of trust with fraudulent intent over $2,000 but less than $10,000 are: Abraham Young, 47, of Green Pond; Richard Young, 36, of Walterboro; Marc Dupont, 38, of Ridgeland; and Rodolfo Taylor, 65, of Walterboro. They could receive up to five years in prison each if found guilty.

Charged with breach of trust with fraudulent intent, value $2,000 or less, were: Eric Ferguson, 39, of Ruffin; Antonio Ferguson, 31, of Walterboro; and John Lee Drayton, 61, Hilton Head Island. This charge is a misdemeanor with the maximum penalty being 30 days in jail or a $1,000 fine.

Three of the defendants worked for Republic Services; four worked for Waste Management.

Smalls said he is glad SLED could help out.

“SLED had the manpower and the time to devote to the case,” the sheriff said.

Simco officials could not be reached.

Reach Monk at (803) 771-8344.

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