Three people are accused of using an Arizona trucking company to defraud the state of California’s recycling program of $16.9 million over several years.
Investigators discovered 27,860 pounds of empty aluminum and plastic beverage containers on the property of Bustillos’ Trucking in Phoenix.
A five-month investigation led officials to believe the owner operated the company just to defraud California’s Beverage Container Recycling Program.
Investigators believe the empty containers were being packed and loaded onto trucks to be delivered to California and redeemed for the CRV value.
California pays a CRV of 5 cents for containers less than 24 ounces, 10 cents for containers 24 ounces or larger. By comparison, Arizona pays 20 cents per pound for plastic containers.
The owner Miguel Bustillos, 49, of Glendale, Arizona was arrested on Nov. 7 along with truck driver Anthony Sanchez, 57. The warrants for their arrest were issued from Los Angeles County. Both men have been extradited to California, officials said.
The following day, Amaury Avila-Medina, 56, of Sylmar, California was arrested.
All three suspects face charges of felony recycling fraud, attempted grand theft, and conspiracy. It was not clear if the suspects have retained attorneys.
The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery worked with the California Department of Justice and the Arizona Department of Public Safety on the case.