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For Release: Wednesday, September 18, 2019

DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officer Highlights

ECO Actions for Late August to Early September

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) enforce the 71 Chapters of NY Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), protecting fish and wildlife and preserving environmental quality across New York.

In 2018, the 288 ECOs across the state responded to 21,668 calls and worked on cases that resulted in 20,665 tickets or arrests for crimes ranging from deer poaching to solid waste dumping, illegal mining, the black market pet trade, and excessive emissions violations.

If you witness an environmental crime or believe a violation of environmental law occurred, please call the DEC Division of Law Enforcement hotline at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267).

"From Montauk Point to Mount Marcy, from Brooklyn to Buffalo, the ECOs patrolling our state are the first line of defense in protecting New York's environment and our natural resources, ensuring that they exist for future generations of New Yorkers," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "They work long and arduous hours, both deep in our remote wildernesses and in the tight confines of our urban landscapes. Although they don't receive much public fanfare, the work of our ECOs is critical to achieving DEC's mission to protect and enhance our environment."

Recent missions carried out by ECOs include:

Entangled Turtle - Suffolk County
On Sept. 1, ECOs Evan Laczi, Emma Carpenter, and Kaitlin Grady were patrolling Northport Harbor by boat when they found a large abandoned fishing net tangled around floating pilings in the town of Huntington. A diamondback terrapin was spotted entangled in the net. The officers pulled the boat close, cut the terrapin free, and released it back to the water. The Northport Harbormaster was notified about the net and arranged to have this hazard removed.

ECO holding a turtle on a boat that has fishing net tangled around its legs and shell
Diamondback terrapin in Northport Harbor

Annual School of Holy Childhood Fishing Clinic - Monroe County
On Sept. 9, DEC Division of Law Enforcement members hosted a free fishing event for the students of Rochester's Holy Childhood School. The much-anticipated event is a long-standing tradition for Region 8 ECOs. This year's fishing destination was Powder Mills Park in the town of Perinton. ECOs taught fishing basics to nine individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and the group enjoyed the sport and reveled in some great catches. The clinic was made possible by support from the New York State Conservation Officers Association and the Riedman Foundation Fish Hatchery.

Two ECOs pose for a picture with the catches of day with one of the students
ECO John Lutz, Lt. Matt Lochner, and happy fisherman from Holy Childhood

DEC Charges Pennsylvania Man with Menacing - Chemung County
ECOs and investigators with DEC's Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigations (BECI) unit charged a Pennsylvania resident last week in connection with an Aug. 15 incident that occurred during a routine mine inspection on Lake Road in the town of Horseheads. Two DEC mining inspectors were attempting to perform the annual inspection of a permitted gravel pit when the subject, who was operating a front loader at the site, obstructed their entry to the site and intimidated the inspectors while they were attempting to perform the inspection. The inspectors felt in fear of serious physical injury and left the site. Gary L. Clark, 73, of Troy, Penn., was charged with obstructing governmental administration in the 2nd degree, a class A misdemeanor, and menacing in the 3rd degree, a class B misdemeanor, and released. He is set to appear in Horseheads Town Court on Sept. 26. DEC employees are authorized to conduct inspections pursuant to issued permits, and obstructing or hindering these inspections is a criminal offense that will be aggressively pursued by DLE.

Hidden Pesticides and No License - Suffolk County
On Sept. 12, ECOs Nicholas Nicholas and Rob Kaufherr observed a landscaper operating a spreader on the front lawn of a residence in Northport. Upon spotting the ECOs, the landscaper closed the spreader and quickly moved to the backyard. ECOs visually inspected the landscaper's truck and noticed that it did not display any pesticide applicator decals. The ECOs also spotted an empty bag of granular Grub Killer in the bed of the truck. Heading to the backyard, the officers saw the spreader, still full of the pesticide, hidden in a bush. During an interview, the landscaper acknowledged he knew he needed a license to use the pesticide but did not have it. The subject was issued tickets for operating an unregistered pesticide business and engaging in the application of pesticides without a pesticide applicator license.

pesticide spreader with white, powdery pesticide in it
Spreader full of grub killer found hidden in a backyard

Former Norwich DPW Assistant Superintendent Charged, Again - Chenango County
On Sept. 17, former Norwich Department of Public Works Assistant Superintendent George W. Carnrike Jr., was charged by ECOs and DEC's BECI unit in the ongoing investigation into illegal dumping in the city. Carnrike, 61, was arraigned in City of Norwich Court and charged with making a punishable false written statement, a class A misdemeanor; offering a false instrument for filing in the second degree, a class A misdemeanor; unlawful dealing in hazardous wastes in the second degree, a class A misdemeanor; three counts of transporting regulated waste without a permit, violations; three counts of unlawful delivery of regulated waste except at authorized facility, violations; three counts of failure to contain regulated waste during transport so as to prevent discharge to the environment, violations; three counts of unlawful disposal of waste except at authorized facility, violations; three counts of constructing or operating a facility in violation of laws and regulations, violations; and three counts allowing management of waste on land under control in violation of laws and regulations, violations.

In separate charges filed earlier this year, Carnrike pleaded guilty in April 2019 to one count of disposing solid waste at other than a permitted facility, and was ordered to pay a $1,500 fine and $128 in restitution. The current case is still under investigation and further details will be released when available.

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