DA Hynes Announces Chop Shop & illegal Dumping Takedown

(Wednesday, August 13th, 2008)

Brooklyn, August 13, 2008 – Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today announced a multi-agency effort leading to the arrest of Darren Miller, 47, on charges he illegally used four acres of publicly owned property, to create a dumping ground for garbage, construction debris and derelict or stolen cars, tractor trailers and heavy-duty machinery; as well as a private parking lot and an illegal automobile dismantling yard.

Working with the District Attorney’s Environmental Crimes Unit and Special Investigations Unit in the effort to reclaim the property for the city are the New York City Police Department’s Auto Crimes Division, NYPD Kings County DA Squad, the New York City Department of Sanitation’s Environmental Police Unit,  New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, the New York City Fire Department, and the New York City Law Department.

“Illegal dumping and the use of publicly owned land for private gain and illicit activity will not be tolerated in Brooklyn, and people who house or dismantle stolen vehicles will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said District Attorney Hynes. “I would like to thank the multiple city and state agencies who assisted us in this takedown.”

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Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty said, “The Department’s Environmental Police Unit provided critical investigative assistance to this case and stands ready to offer its specialized resources as it progresses through the criminal justice system.”

New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner David J. Swarts said, “The conduct of people who misuse public property for illicit purposes cannot be tolerated.  I applaud the cooperative efforts of New York City and State agencies and the DMV’s Division of Field Investigations to promote safety and eliminate this illegal operation that created an environmental hazard for the residents of Brooklyn.”

According to the charges against him, Miller operated his business illegally on publicly owned property, without any state or city permits and allowed hazardous automotive fluids to leak onto the soil in the unpaved, dirt lot. The Sanitation Department attempted, on numerous occasions, to stop him from using the property illegally and referred the case to the Law Department, which brought civil action against Miller, through a lawsuit.

“The Law Department is proud that the civil court injunction it obtained against Darren Miller supports the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office in its efforts to stop the criminal activities occurring at the property,” said Bridget Eichinger, New York City Law Department’s lead attorney on the civil case.  “The City will continue to pursue recovery of environmental clean-up costs, and we look forward to developing this property in a way that will benefit the community.”

The property in question is located near the corner of Erskine Street and Vandalia Avenue in East New York, and adjacent to the Gateway Plaza shopping mall, which owns a portion of the property. The remainder is owned by the city and the state.

Detective Investigators from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office executed a search warrant on August 12, and discovered approximately 560 vehicles, 1,000 tires, hazardous waste, dismantled auto parts, construction debris and other solid waste.

Miller is charged with Illegal Vehicle Dismantling, Criminal Trespass and Contempt, as well as multiple violations of the Environmental Conservation Law, the Administrative Code and the Vehicle and Traffic Law.

The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are possible.

The case was investigated by Detective Investigator Third Grade Glenn Kenny, Supervising Detective Investigator Greg DeBoer, Deputy Chief Rackets Investigator Alfonse Lombardo, and Assistant Chief Investigator George Terra. Joseph Ponzi is Chief Rackets Investigator.

The case is being prosecuted by Rackets Division Deputy Bureau Chief Jeffrey Ferguson and Rackets Division Bureau Chief John Holmes. Michael Vecchione is Chief of the Rackets Division.

(YWN Desk – NYC)

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