- Truck driver Cesar Vargas of Compton, CA has been arrested for attempting to smuggle more than $7,000 worth of plastic and aluminum beverage containers from Arizona into California. Vargas was charged with recycling fraud and attempted grand theft, and his truck was impounded.
- The driver's intentions were to defraud the California Redemption Value fund, according to state officials. The California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act requires that customers pay a CRV fee on beverage bottles, and because out-of-state residents do not pay this fee, out-of-state beverage containers are not legal for CRV redemption.
- A California Department of Justice Recycling Fraud Team was conducting surveillance when they spotted and questioned Vargas. He is the third person to be arrested on similar recycling fraud charges in California this year.
The lack of uniformity in recycling laws from state to state gives criminals the chance to find loopholes where they think they can beat the system. Therefore, California’s Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery created a pact with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division earlier this year to enforce laws against these illegal practices in California’s beverage container recycling industry.
"From the monitoring of recycling centers, in-state and out-of-state, to the continued vigilance at California’s border agricultural checkpoints, illegal haulers should know that we are going all-out to shut them down," said CalRecycle Acting Director Ken DaRosa.