Multi-agency task force tackles illegal dumping in Sam Houston National Forest

By: U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas
| Published 02/07/2020

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CONROE, TX -- Several individuals will be participating in a clean-up effort following their charges of illegal dumping in the Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF), announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick and Montgomery County District Attorney Brett W. Ligon.

On Aug. 1, 2019, area law enforcement formed a multi-agency task force comprised of federal, state and local agencies to attempt to curb illegal dumping in the SHNF. Dumpsters are placed in the forest and people are encouraged not to litter, but the ongoing problem warranted further action.

During the initial enforcement period, task force officers identified and charged a number of people for illegally dumping materials in SHNF. These individuals were typically found to be illegally discarding furniture, tires, construction materials, bottles, rags and various other forms of trash in the forest. A number of state and federal prosecutions are now pending for the illegal dumping, and multiple arrests have occurred. In an effort to remedy the immediate problem, a number of the individuals charged are scheduled to take part in a clean-up effort in SHNF Saturday, Feb. 8.

“Dumping on National Forest land is illegal and goes against the conservation mission of the property,” said Patrick. “With federal and state land set aside for parks and conservation throughout Montgomery and surrounding counties, this was the perfect joint partnership. District Attorney Ligon has been fantastic, and his involvement was key in bringing local law enforcement to the project.”

“People need to think twice about dumping their garbage on forest land that belongs to all of us,” said Ligon. “This behavior is not harmless, it will not be tolerated, and there will be consequences when we catch the people who are involved.”

Both Ligon and Patrick commended the dedicated enforcement efforts of game wardens, agents and deputies from Texas Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service and Montgomery County Precinct One Constable’s Office in addressing illegal dumping in SHNF.

Assistant District Attorneys Michael Ghutzman and Nathan Alsbrooks handled the state charges, while Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Epley is handling the federal matters.

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