Officials: 24 arrested in ‘largest ever’ illegal dumping bust in NY history

Posted: Updated:
BRENTWOOD -

Officials say an 18-month investigation led to the arrest of 24 people in what is being called the "largest-ever bust of illegal dumping in the state's history."

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos says “Operation Pay Dirt” uncovered 81 illegal dumping sites from Long Island to the Hudson Valley.

The operation resulted in charges for 11 companies and dozens of vehicles seized.

“These bad actors have…dumped in open fields, dumped in nature preserves, dumped in soccer fields,” said Seggos.

One man facing charges is 53-year-old Anthony “Rock” Grazio – a so-called dirt broker. Suffolk District Attorney Tim Sini says Grazio advertised “free dirt” both online and door to door.

According to Newsday, investigators said Grazio brokered deals with recycling and solid waste management facilities and trucking companies to illegally dump construction and demolition debris into Suffolk parks and backyards.

One of those dump sites discovered in the investigation is next to community soccer fields near Brentwood North Middle School.

“We noticed some big dump truck dumping debris,” said John Spadaro, of Brentwood. That was back in 2016. “We dug up stuff they were burying – sewer pipe, metal wire, insulated wire…that's when we knew something funny was going on.”

So far, authorities froze more than $4.4 million in accounts. The state DEC and the Suffolk DA's Office said that this is an ongoing investigation.

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