Hazardous materials case ends in probation

The co-owner of a Montrose mining company was sentenced Thursday to five years of probation and 135 days in jail for illegally storing hazardous waste on the company’s property, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office announced.

Montrose County District Court Judge Jeff Herron sentenced Steven Casebolt, 50, this week, two months after he pleaded guilty to two felony counts of illegal storage of a hazardous waste and a single felony count of illegal treatment of a hazardous waste.

The statewide grand jury indicted Casebolt and his father, Joseph, who later died, in April 2007 on charges that their business, Elizabeth Mining and Development, was illegally storing and disposing of hazardous waste between 1998 and 2007. The company, which was later renamed

Precious Metal Recovery Inc., extracted metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium from used automotive catalytic converters.

“This sentence underlines my office’s commitment to vigorously prosecute anyone who improperly stores or disposes of hazardous wastes anywhere in Colorado,” Attorney General

John Suthers said in a statement. “Colorado’s natural resources are one of the state’s greatest assets. Protecting the integrity of Colorado’s water and land are two of my most important charges as attorney general.”

A third co-defendant, Wayne Ratner, was indicted on securities fraud charges as a result of the state’s investigation into Elizabeth Mining. He pleaded guilty last year to a felony charge of selling an unregistered security and was sentenced to three years of probation.

Casebolt’s sentence comes six months after Herron ordered Elizabeth Mining to identify contaminants. That followed a similar order from 2006 and a $420,000 fine from state health officials.


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