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Wanted for Wetlands Pollution, EPA Fugitive Caught in Mexico
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, July 20, 2009 (ENS) - Robert Wainwright, 65, a fugitive wanted in Indiana for allegedly polluting wetlands, was arrested July 14 in Mexico by U.S. marshals and agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, working with Mexican police.

Wainwright, who had a prior federal firearms conviction, was extradited back to the United States and arrived in Indianapolis on Saturday, July 18.

Robert Wainwright (Photo courtesy EPA)

Before he fled to Mexico, officials say Wainwright was manager of Sterling Material Services in Lake County, Indiana. The company, which separated metal from slag and brick waste from steel mills, allegedly disposed of waste in an adjacent wetland without a permit.

The Northern Indiana Environmental Crimes Task Force, and agents with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms conducted a search warrant at the site of the business and a follow-on consent-search at Wainwright's residence, where they discovered 23 firearms as well as ammunition.

Since Wainwright had a prior felony conviction, his possession of the weapons was illegal.

On August 1, 2007, Wainwright was indicted on a felony firearms charge. He was convicted by a federal jury in the Northern District of Indiana. He also was charged by the Superior Court of Lake County for discharging a pollutant into the waters of Indiana.

While awaiting sentencing on the federal munitions charges, he fled to Mexico. He faces sentencing on those charges, as well as trial for the alleged environmental violation, after he is returned to Indiana.

Wainwright is one of 21 fugitives listed on EPA's fugitive website at: http://www.epa.gov/fugitives.

His arrest resulted from two anonymous tips from people who saw Wainwright on the website, contacted EPA's tip line and EPA's Criminal Investigation Division Chicago area office.

The EPA then contacted federal law enforcement officials in Mexico, who worked with the Mexican police to make the arrest.

Copyright Environment News Service, ENS, 2009. All rights reserved.

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