T – 17 – 16
Barbara A. Lee, Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 19, 2016
DTSC Investigation Leads to Felony Convictions Against Scrap
Metal Recycling Facility in Los Angeles County
SACRAMENTO – A Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) investigation led to a combined six felony convictions against Panda International Trading Co., Inc. (Panda) and its owner Da Xiong Pan on Sept. 14, 2016. The felony convictions are for violating California’s
hazardous waste control laws.
The criminal complaint was filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on April 28, 2016. On Sept. 14, 2016, Pan pled guilty to five felonies and received 16 months in prison, which was suspended to one day in jail and 1,000 hours of community service. Panda pled guilty to one felony charge and both the company and the owner will pay a total of $53,568.26 in restitution. Both also received three years of probation. There are several other restrictions for both Pan and the company as well.
“With these convictions comes three years of probation for the facility and the owner. Among the restrictions is neither the owner nor Panda can store or dispose of hazardous waste or operate any business that does so,” said Hansen Pang, DTSC’s Chief Investigator for OCI. “It’s critical that all facilities that handle hazardous waste abide by state regulations.”
DTSC’s Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) obtained a search warrant in November 2013 and collected evidence that indicated the company released toxic levels of metal particulates onto the public sidewalk in front of its facility at 3570 Fruitland Ave. in Maywood, Los Angeles County. The criminal complaint stated that Panda and its owner knowingly disposed of, treated and stored hazardous waste (copper, lead, zinc, admium, nickel, chromium) at the facility without a permit or authorization from DTSC.
Panda, which is no longer operating, was a scrap metal recycler that received, handled, and stored cathode ray tubes and universal waste, such as old household appliances. Cathode ray tubes contain lead and other metals. Improper handling of these hazardous wastes may result in a release of toxic metals into the environment.
In addition to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, DTSC received assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Port Police, Los Angeles Public Works, Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Los Angeles County Fire Department Health Hazardous Material Division.
Documents pertaining to this case can be found here.
There was a magnesium fire that started at the Panda facility on June 14, 2016. US EPA is in control of the site and overseeing the clean-up of that fire. LA County Fire is also conducting an investigation. DTSC is acting in a supporting role and has served a search warrant at the site as part of its own investigation into the incident.
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FOR GENERAL INQUIRIES: Contact the Department of Toxic Substances Control by phone at (800) 728-6942 or visit www.dtsc.ca.gov. To report illegal handling, discharge, or disposal of hazardous waste, call the Waste Alert Hotline at (800) 698-6942.
The mission of DTSC is to protect California’s people and environment from harmful effects of toxic substances by restoring contaminated properties, enforcing hazardous waste law, reducing hazardous waste generation, and encouraging the manufacture of chemically safer products.