LAKE WACCAMAW – Special agents from the State Bureau of Investigation’s Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit were on hand for the dedication of 200 new acres at Lake Waccamaw State Park in Columbus County on Friday.
Agents with the SBI worked jointly with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigative Division on a hog waste discharge case that resulted in the conviction of the perpetrator who was fined $1.5 million. A portion of that fine was given to the N.C. Coastal Land Trust and N.C. State Parks to purchase additional acreage for Lake Waccamaw State Park.
“Agents from SBI’s Environmental Crime Unit work complex environmental investigations like this one to protect our natural resources,” said SBI Assistant Director Masha Rogers. “This investigation started in 2007 and is ending positively with the 200 acres being added for the preservation of wetlands for the citizens of Columbus County.”
Agents with the SBI’s Diversion and Environmental Crime Unit investigate violations of state and federal environmental laws and regulations such as the Clean Water Act, Oil Pollution and Hazardous Substances, Medical Waste and the Clean Air Act.
The president of Freedom Farms, Inc., was convicted in federal court for discharging hog waste directly into a tributary of the Waccamaw River that flows through wetlands. As part of the plea, payment was made to the N.C. Coastal Land Trust Fund for the protection of those wetlands.
The 2012 Department of Justice press release on the sentencing can be found at https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/north-carolina-corporate-hog-farm-and-president-sentenced-pay-15-million-violating-clean
The SBI provides expert criminal investigative assistance to local law enforcement agencies when requested by police, sheriffs, district attorneys or judges. The agency also has original jurisdiction in cases such as drug and arson investigations, election law violations, gambling, human trafficking, weapons of mass destruction, child sexual abuse in day care centers, computer crimes against children and crimes involving state property.