More charges expected in wastewater case
MORGAN CITY, La. -- More charges are expected as part of a wide ranging and ongoing federal and state investigation into corruption and fraud surrounding federal environmental laws, according to U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr.
On Monday, Raymond Marcel Jr. of Berwick and Cyril D. Robicheaux of Morgan City were charged by Cazayoux with a felony for conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and violate the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Cazayoux said this morning the charges will be against another person in a “tangentially related case.”
RAM Environmental Services LLC, a Morgan City wastewater brokerage company which is owned by Marcel and Robicheaux, was also charged in an alleged scheme that included the illegal disposal of over 380,000 gallons of industrial wastewater into an injection well in Belle River.
RAM arranges for transportation and disposal of industrial wastes for its industrial customers, according to the federal charges. The charges mentioned RAM clients in Patterson and Morgan City.
Cazayoux emphasized this morning that these unnamed companies are not the subject of the investigation nor are they expected to be charged with a crime.
“These guys were innocent. They had no idea of what was going on,” Cazayoux said of the RAM clients.
U.S. Attorney Corey R. Amundson described the industrial wastewater from the Patterson client as consisting “of a brownish chemical and water mixture resulting from the processing of used oil.”
The Morgan City client produced “a milky white chemical and water mixture resulting from the testing of devices designed to prevent blowouts during oil production,” according to Amundson.
The wastewater was described as “far from hazardous,” by C. Frank Holthaus, who represents the firm and its owners.
Holthaus added, that his clients “have cooperated with the government from the beginning and have reached a plea agreement.”
Cazayoux said on Tuesday that the two men had pleaded guilty but that there was no plea agreement on record, yet. He said before a plea agreement can be made and recorded, a pre-sentence investigation must be completed.