Attorney General Thurbert Baker announced that Christopher Lee entered a guilty plea in DeKalb County Superior Court yesterday to one count each of unlawful dumping, illegal handling of solid waste and illegal storage of human waste. Lee was sentenced by Judge Michael Hancock to a ten year sentence, the balance to be served on probation, and ordered to pay $14,124.00 in restitution, including the costs associated with properly disposing of the bio-waste. A special condition of Lee’s probation is that he is forbidden from working at any company in the waste management business or applying for any permit or license relating to waste management.
Lee operated a company called Biotech Corporation, a/k/a Biotech Environmental Incorporated, which did business as a biomedical waste collection service. Biotech was supposed to collect medical waste from various facilities in the metro Atlanta area and transport the waste to a licensed disposal treatment facility. Lee had obtained for Biotech a permit from the State Environmental Protection Division to transport medical waste; he and Biotech did not, however, have any permit or authority to store such waste.
In October 2003, Thermo King reported that Lee had abandoned a trailer containing medical waste at their storage facility. Police and investigators from the Environmental Protection Agency arrived and confirmed that there was bio-waste in the trailer. Lee had collected medical waste from different facilities but had then failed to deliver the waste to an appropriate disposal facility. Instead, he abandoned the waste at the Thermo King facility.
The trailer was found to contain 292 containers of regulated medical waste. At least a dozen of the containers held pathological waste, including amputated limbs and organs, two containers held chemotherapy waste, and the remaining held lab waste such as soiled dressings and tubes. The total weight of the waste on the trailer was 6,943 pounds. The Environmental Protection Agency disposed of the waste at an appropriate waste disposal facility after its discovery.
Lee was indicted by the DeKalb County Grand Jury in 2007, and, after he was located by federal investigators, he was extradited from Florida, where he was then living, in March 2009. The case was investigated by Charles Carfagno of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and prosecution of the case was conducted by Assistant Attorney General Greg Lohmeier and Rolando Bascombe of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, who was designated as a Special Assistant Attorney General to assist with the prosecution of this case.