Summary of Criminal Prosecutions

Search Criminal Prosecution

D.  Hawaii  1:08-cr-00577-DAE
2. DEFENDANT: Stephen Swift
D.  Hawaii  CR00577-001
Jerome Anches, president of Martin Warehousing and Distribution, was sentenced on February 22, 2010 in federal district court for the District of Hawaii to pay a $300,000 fine plus $84,000 in restitution, and will complete a five-year term of probation after previously pleading guilty to a RCRA storage violation.

Anches’ company was in the business of transporting and distributing freight. In August 2001, one of the company’s forklift drivers was involved in a hazardous waste spill that punctured a 55-gallon drum of tetrachloroethylene. MWD contacted the Honolulu Fire Department, which arrived and contained the spill. MWD also contacted Pacific Environmental Company (PENCO), which specialized in the clean-up of hazardous waste sites and the disposal of hazardous waste. Shortly thereafter, PENCO employees arrived to clean-up the site.

After providing samples of this material to be tested by a lab, PENCO verified that the waste must be treated as hazardous and placed the material in a container on MWD's property.

PENCO prepared manifests and hazardous waste labels for Anches and informed him that the company could transport the waste for proper disposal for approximately $16,500. Anches declined the offer due to the cost and let the waste sit without proper permitting until February 2005.

In February 2005, Anches found a buyer for the MWD property, but before the sale could take place, Anches had to remove the hazardous waste.

To move the waste, Anches contracted with with a transportation company called RRL, Inc., and the company's de facto "responsible corporate officer," Stephen Swift.

The contract required that the hazardous waste be manifested and properly removed from the property. Swift or one of his employees, however, simply moved the container down the street from the RRL offices. The waste was moved again about a week later, from the street to property owned by Swift, without a manifest.

Swift continued to unlawfully store this waste from February 2005 to May 2008. In a letter dated January 4, 2008, the Department of Health for the State of Hawaii wrote to Swift’s attorney and asked a number of questions, including whether Swift had taken care of a container with the hazardous waste located on his property. Swift responded with a number of false statements, including that the container located on the Haleahi property did not contain waste but rather "damaged freight."

On September 24, 2008, the defendants were indicted, charged with a total of five felony counts, including the illegal storage of hazardous waste, transportation of hazardous waste without a manifest and mail fraud. On April 12, 2010, following seven dys of trial, a federal jury returned guilty verdicts against defendant Swift on all counts, including transporting hazardous waste without a manifest and storing hazardous waste without a permit. On August 2, 2010, Swift was sentenced to serve 27 months incarceration followed by 36 months of supervised release and was ordered to pay a $7,500 fine and a $300 special assessment.

September 24, 2008
Anches and Swift were charged in an Indictment with violating RCRA {42 U.S.C. 6928(d)(2)(A) - illegal storage of hazardous waste; and 42 U.S.C. 6928(d)(5) - transportation of hazardous waste without a manifest} and mail fraud, a violation of 18 U.S.C. 1341.

Swift pled guilty to the charge.

CITATION: 42 U.S.C. 6928(d)(2)(A)
May 26, 2009
Anches pled guilty to one count of the indictment: 42 U.S.C. 6928(d)(2)(A) - illegal storage of hazardous waste.

February 22, 2010
Anches was sentenced to 60 months probation and ordered to pay a $300,000 federal fine and $84,000 in restitution to the EPA and other agencies that assisted in the cleanup.

April 12, 2010
Following seven days of trial, Swift was convicted on all counts.

August 2, 2010
Swift was sentenced to 27 months incarceration, 36 months probation, ordered to pay a $300 special assessment fee and a $7,500 fine.

District of Hawaii
For Immediate Release
August 2, 2010


HONOLULU, HAWAII – STEPHEN SWIFT, 55, was sentenced today to 24 months in prison for two counts of transporting hazardous waste (perchloroethylene) without a manifest and 27 months imprisonment for one count of storing the perchloroethylene without a permit on his property in Waianae from February 2005 until the EPA seized it for destruction on May 16, 2008. United States District Judge David A. Ezra also imposed a $7,500 fine.

Florence T. Nakakuni, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said that transporting hazardous waste requires a license from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the State of Hawaii Department of Health so that those agencies can track its transportation and disposal. According to the evidence at the April 2010 trial:
  • In February 2005 Swift was hired by Martin Warehousing and Storage, a company based at Sand Island, to transport and dispose of hazardous waste derived from a spill at Martin Warehousing's property on August 14, 2001. The spill involved the chemical tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene or "perc" which is commonly used by dry cleaning stores to clean clothes.
  • An environmental clean-up company vacuumed up contaminated water and dug up contaminated asphalt. The President and owner of Martin Warehousing, Jerome Anches, did not want to pay the $16,000 to have the hazardous waste transported to the mainland for destruction. Instead, the hazardous waste remained in an unused Matson container on Martin Warehousing's property from August 14, 2001, until February 7 or 8, 2005.
  • In early February 2005, the Martin Warehousing site was sold, and Anches hired Swift to transport the hazardous waste in the Matson container to the mainland for proper disposal. Instead, Swift moved the hazardous waste to his undeveloped property in Waianae where it remained until the EPA learned of it on May 16, 2008.
On May 26, 2009 On February 22, 2010, Anches, 70, who pled guilty to storing the hazardous waste without a permit on Martin Warehousing's property from the time of the spill until Swift removed it, was sentenced to a term of five years of probation, received a $300,000 fine, and was ordered to immediately pay $84,000 to reimburse the EPA for the costs in cleaning up the hazardous waste on the Waianae site.

According to trial testimony, a perchloroethylene spill can cause many serious injuries, even death. There have been documented cases of people dying from too much inhalation of perc. In this case, three of the drums containing the perc rusted out and released vapors, although no one was injured. Following EPA's discovery of the hazardous waste on Swift's property, it was packed and transported to the mainland where it was destroyed pursuant to the law.

USA Nakakuni complimented the EPA for conducting the investigation which led to the prosecution. Nick Torres, Special Agent in Charge of the EPA Pacific Southwest Region's criminal enforcement program, noted that "perchloroethylene can contaminate groundwater and drinking water if it is not stored safely and legally," and individuals who transport, dispose, or store such hazardous waste illegally will be vigorously pursued. The State of Hawaii Department of Health's Hazardous Waste Section was instrumental in discovering the hazardous waste.

USA Nakakuni noted that hazardous waste dumps are a very real concern for law enforcement officials in Hawaii, and the public should report any such location to EPA. "The public's cooperation is instrumental in enabling officials to locate sites where hazardous waste has been dumped or stored," she said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marshall Silverberg prosecuted the cases against Anches and Swift.

  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

Top of page