4OYS Investigates: Metal recycling shops busted by inspectors
Posted at: 09/10/2012 11:31 PM
| Updated at: 09/11/2012 3:18 PM
By: KOB.com Staff
New state laws have tightened the rules for businesses that buy used metals, and the hope is to deter them from buying stolen materials.
There are nearly 30 metal recycling businesses across Bernalillo County. So far, police said one-third of those business have been temporarily shut down in the last month.
Albuquerque Police Department Officer George Trujillo and a team of inspectors from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fire Marshal's Office and zoning are working together to crack down on metal recycling businesses that are breaking the law.
"We want to make sure that people are operating in compliance with the State of New Mexico - also that they are following zoning regulations," said Officer George Trujillo.
Some of the worst offenders includes Amado Recycling, which was shut down for having faulty scales. El Gigante Recycling Metal was cited for not registering with the state as a legitimate metal buyer, and not reporting metal buying transactions. Martinez Metal was also shut down for having stolen metal, and not having a license to purchase used metals.
According to officials, M&M Recycling takes the cake.
"In M&M's case, the didn't heed the warning," Officer Trujillo stated. "They chose to do business they wanted instead of what was required of them."
APD noted a laundry list of problems with M&M, including how the business was not following the new state regulations.
Some serious environmental issues were also discovered at M&M. Inspectors took photographs that show engine oil leaking out and seeping into the ground. Other photos show a Porta-Potty on the property that was broken, leaking human waste into the ground - EPA cited them for it.
Bernalillo County Zoning officials suspected that people might be living on the premises, which is against zoning regulations.
Each business that was shut down promised inspectors they would clean up their act, however M&M would not agree to provide proof.
APD will continue inspecting metal recycling businesses, but there is one problem. When the pressure gets too hot in the Albuquerque metro area, much of the illegal activity gets displaced to other rural areas of the state where there is less law enforcement.