Newark man spent year dumping mountains of trash under bridges, state says
NEWARK — The state attorney general says a man spent over a year dumping large amounts of trash underneath highway bridges.
Abdullah S. Bryant, 40, was indicted on charges that could put him behind bars for up to 30 years.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal says the man conducted the dumping under various business names, including International Rubbish Removal, without the proper licenses for handling solid waste.
The dump field under Route 78 and Route 22, between Frelinghuysen Avenue and the Northeast Corridor Rail Line, was about 1,000-feet long and 500 feet wide, while the dump under Route 21 near Poinier Street was about 1,200-feet long and up to 150-feet wide.
Both sites have been cleaned up for a combined estimated cost of $1.7 million. The 78 site was the same location where an illegal trash dump caught fire in 1989 and damaged the bridge.
The illegal dumping is alleged to have occurred between January 2016 and April 2017.
He was charged with two counts of criminal mischief, vandalizing railroad property, illegal collection of solid waste, illegal transportation of solid waste and illegal disposal of solid waste — all third-degree crimes.
“Far too frequently polluters will dump waste and hazardous materials in disadvantaged areas, where they believe they can violate the law with impunity,” Grewal said Thursday. “Today we send a clear message to illegal dumpers: if you pollute our communities, not only will we pursue you with civil actions, we will prosecute you criminally. Everyone, no matter their race, ethnicity, color, national origin, or income deserves to live and work in a healthy and clean environment, free from the harmful and degrading effects of polluted air, contaminated water, and illegal dumping.”
The Department of Transportation alerted state prosecutors about the dumping under 78 and 22 in March 2017. NJ Transit police alerted authorities the same month about the dumping under 21.
The waste included household items, paper, construction materials, flammables, asbestos, medical waste, lead paint and hazardous materials, officials said.
New Jersey 101.5 did not know Friday whether Bryant had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.