Explo Systems Employees Sentenced in Conspiracy Case

"Through their reckless mismanagement of waste explosives, the defendants put the safety of an entire town at risk," said Susan Bodine, assistant administrator of the EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "Today's sentencing should send a clear message that EPA and our law enforcement partners will hold corporate officials responsible for violating laws designed to protect our communities and the environment."

EPA joined law enforcement partners from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Louisiana, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army, the Department of Transportation, the FBI, and the Louisiana State Police in announcing Nov. 29 the sentencing of five defendants for their role in a case involving Explo Systems, Inc., a private company involved in the demilitarization of military munitions. The company's mismanagement of military munitions resulted in a large explosion at a storage facility in Camp Minden, La., on Oct. 15, 2012, that damaged buildings in a four-mile radius, derailed 11 rail cars, and was felt up to 35 miles away, triggering an investigation that showed Explo Systems had illegally disposed of hazardous waste resulting in more than $38 million of cleanup costs.

"Through their reckless mismanagement of waste explosives, the defendants put the safety of an entire town at risk," said Susan Bodine, assistant administrator of the EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "Today's sentencing should send a clear message that EPA and our law enforcement partners will hold corporate officials responsible for violating laws designed to protect our communities and the environment."

The defendants, all employed by Explo Systems, conspired from January 2010 to November 2012 to defraud the United States. Instead of selling the explosive material as indicated by the false documents, the hazardous waste was disposed of in unpermitted facilities, including public landfills, and improperly stored, which resulted in a large explosion and the evacuation of the town of Doyline. Explo Systems illegally disposed of approximately 47 truckloads of reactive hazardous waste containing explosives to public landfills across Louisiana and Arkansas, according to EPA's release; it said not only did officials at Explo Systems defraud the government about the disposal of the explosive material, but also they moved and improperly stored propellant to hide the improper storage from government officials. Lower-level employees were instructed to hide and conceal improperly stored demilitarized propellant and reactive hazardous waste from government officials during inspections. Total costs paid by the taxpayers to ensure the proper destruction and remediation of the propellant and hazardous waste which EXPLO illegally stored on site exceeded $38 million.

For their role in a criminal conspiracy that led to the October 2012 explosion,. U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote sentenced these five Explo Systems defendants: Co-owner David Alan Smith of Winchester, Ky., sentenced to 55 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and to pay $34,798,761 in restitution; Vice President of Operations William Terry Wright of Bossier City, La., sentenced to 60 months, three years of supervised release, and $149,032 in restitution; Director of Support Technology Charles Ferris Callihan, of Shreveport, La., sentenced to 24 months, three years of supervised release, and $207,599 in resitution; Demilitarization Program Manager Kenneth Wayne Lampkin of Haughton, La., sentenced to 45 months, three years of supervised release, and $149,032 in restitution; and Traffic and Inventory Control Manager Lionel Wayne Koons of Haughton, sentenced to 41 months, three years of supervised release, and $92,921 in restitution.

The U.S. Army had awarded Explo Systems a contract on March 24, 2010, to dispose of 450,000 155mm artillery propelling charges designated as M119A2 for $2,902,500. The Army and Explo Systems officials later amended the contract on March 6, 2012 to dispose of 1,350,000 M6 propellant charges for $8,617,500. The contract required Explo Systems to properly store and dispose of the demilitarized propellant and to document the sale of the demilitarized propellant by completing an End User Certificate (EUC). On the EUC, the purchaser of the demilitarized propellant certified the purchase and compliance with applicable federal laws, including the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

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