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Man accused of illegally disposing harmful chemicals arrested

4 months 1 week 4 days ago Wednesday, March 13 2024 Mar 13, 2024 March 13, 2024 3:16 PM March 13, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE — A man was arrested by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality for illegally disposing of hazardous chemicals and endangering human life on Manchester Avenue at least two times last year.

Tanner Lentz, 35, was booked Wednesday for illegally disposing hazardous materials on two separate occasions in April and September 2023.

Cassandra Etheridge, 32, was arrested Thursday for the same charges. 

According to court records, officials received a complaint that multiple drums of chemicals were left outside of a home near the end of Manchester Avenue on April 30. The initial complainant said one of the chemical drums was leaking, while another was missing a lid. Multiple people—including children playing in the area—reported feeling lightheaded.

After investigating the site, officials from the St. George Fire Department and LDEQ found nine 55-gallon drums containing various chemicals. LDEQ agents said many of the chemicals were hazardous to human life. Some labels were also reported to be missing.

On September 21, seven more 55-gallon drums were dropped off at the Manchester Avenue address. After another complaint was filed, LDEQ, SGFD and the Baton Rouge Fire Department found barrels containing multiple paint-related materials, as well as flammable compounds. Labels were again missing from some of the barrels.

According to the warrant, the Manchester Avenue address is registered to Suzico LLC, a company Etheridge is employed by.  LDEQ said video footage from April and September connected two vehicles present during the incidents to Etheridge and Lentz. 

One of the vehicles, a Nissan Titan, was registered to Quality Industrial Construction. Lentz is the operating manager of this company, which reportedly purchased multiple drums of one of the chemicals found at the scene.

A company spokesperson told WBRZ that they had no knowledge of Lentz's involvement until LDEQ told them during the investigation, adding that Lentz has since been fired by QIC.

When asked if he assisted in the disposal of the drums in February, Lentz reportedly said that he did not remember.

“Am I getting arrested for littering?” he asked LDEQ investigators.

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