- A truck driver was arrested in California when authorities caught him shipping 7,000 pounds of bottles and cans worth roughly $11,000 in redemption value from Arizona, according to the Los Angeles Times.
- Julio Bolanos, the driver, was arrested for suspicion of felony recycling fraud, attempted grand theft and conspiracy. He could face up to three years in prison and additional fines if convicted.
- Agents from the California Department of Justice Recycling Fraud Team followed Bolanos from Phoenix where they saw him load the materials onto his truck. Though he took a 70-mile detour to avoid a state border checkpoint it didn't matter when highway patrol agents stopped him and found insufficient documentation for the goods.
Officials say that they've caught people coming from states as far away as Washington that don't have redemption programs. In some cases, criminal operations buy loads in bulk and then split them to return at local recycling centers. The state has more than a dozen people on the recycling fraud team that arrested eight drivers hauling $108,000 worth of materials last year.
"Our enforcement partners will continue to follow every lead, monitor suspected traffickers and disrupt these criminal organizations before they have a chance to rip off California consumers," CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said in a news release.
This aggressive approach has led to numerous raids this year as well. While this has inspired some pushback from local businesses who say they've been unfairly accused it's seen as a necessary measure to help ensure fairness for the state's struggling redemption centers. Though California often generates the most headlines around fraud cases it's not the only state dealing with these issues. A man was recently arrested in Michigan for allegedly transporting 10,000 aluminum cans from Kentucky in hopes of cashing in on the lucrative 10-cent deposit refund.