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Three San Marcos companies charged with tampering with emission devices

SAN MARCOS — A San Diego federal grand jury returned an indictment on three San Marcos companies today, alleging that the businesses tampered with emission control devices on their heavy-duty diesel truck fleets.

Among the companies charged were portable toilet rental company Diamond Environmental Services LP, Diamond Maintenance Services, LLC, and Diamond Solid Waste, along with Diamond’s owner Arie Eric De Jong III, 52, Diamond’s Chief Operating Officer Warren Van Dam, 52, and technician Jorge Leyva Rodriguez, 51. De Jong and Rodriguez are also charged with evidence tampering.

The companies and its leaders are accused of disabling systems on Diamond’s trucks that warn if their emissions filters become too dirty, according to prosecutors.

These electronic control modules — or ECMs — are required by the EPA to be in all heavy-duty diesel trucks since model year 2008.

In addition to warning the driver that an emission issue needs to be resolved, prosecutors say the devices can “limit the top speed of the truck to
as low as five miles per hour, providing an incentive for the truck’s operator to repair the truck.”

Instead, the indictment alleges that Diamond had the ECMs removed from their trucks and shipped out of the state to be reprogrammed, allowing the companies to avoid the costs of removing soot and other particulate matter from the trucks’ filters.

Further, Diamond is accused of having employees punch holes in some of the trucks’ dirty filters to allow air to flow through without filtration, and prepare false smog test results to ensure trucks that were not operating properly could pass muster.

San Diego FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner said, “The alleged activity impacts every citizen and visitor to San Diego by contributing to declining air quality and increasing public exposure to airborne pollutants.”

De Jong and Van Dam previously pleaded guilty to illegally dumping the companies’ portable toilet waste into municipal sewer systems, rather than certain designated locations.

De Jong was sentenced to five months in federal prison last year, while Van Dam received five years probation.

A third Diamond employee also was convicted of perjury and sentenced to five years probation.

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5 comments

Ray Carney April 13, 2019 at 12:25 pm

Who cares. Maybe the FBI should check the emissions of all these taco shops. Talk about STANK….

Reply
Addie April 14, 2019 at 11:35 am

I care. so do a lot of people who don’t want to see corrupt, illegal actions go unpunished while fouling our water with illegal dumping. Maybe you like drinking and swimming in foul swampy water…move to DC.

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Wayne April 14, 2019 at 2:04 pm

I am appalled with the way companies such as this can think they can cheat the system without being caught.
I am the fleet manager and technician for a very large tow company in North county and we abide by all federal standards.
I’ve been in the repair industry for over 30 years and all this does is give technician/mechanic a bad name all over.
Yes it does cost down time to pull the DPR filter out to have it cleaned and baked and make sure the integrity of the filter is to what it’s supposed to be but is it worth it to go to jail or be on probation to try and cheat the system???
It makes me wonder if the safety of their trucks are also compromised if they are willing to stoop so low to try and cheat the emission systems.
Yes the clean idle air act for the State of California does choke diesel engines but if you do keep up on the routine maintenance for the DPR filter and all the sensors it does make a difference. we all want clean air, we all want sustainability for our next generation for clean air but when it comes to big companies like this cheating the system it will cause more regulation and more stipulations that are going to hinder costs for smaller companies and put them out of business. So thank you diamond environmental for making North county a worse place for polluting the air and not to mention the water.

Reply
DANIEL R WASEMR April 15, 2019 at 12:54 am

Hey lady since when do you swim in the sewer. DC sure does turn out some weird ones…..and why is the FIB doing something the DOT should?

Reply
Addie April 15, 2019 at 2:11 pm

Daniel,
Please try to think before your fingers hit the keyboard, if that’s possible. No one swims in the sewer but sewage does find its way into the water, especially if it’s dumped there illegally. Not sure who the FIB is. And DC is just filled with swamp monsters. Why don’t you join them? Your lack of spelling prowess and logic would seem to make you well-qualified for a position in the current administration.

Reply

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