Kentucky broker pleads guilty to hazmat violations
October 8, 2021
•Land Line Staff
A Kentucky freight broker has been sentenced to serve six months on house arrest and five years of probation after pleading guilty to violating the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act by transporting 46 shipments of radioactive sludge without proper permits, equipment or hazardous materials endorsements.
On Sept. 15, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky sentenced Cory Hoskins to six months of home detention, five years of probation, and a special assessment of $200.
Hoskins, the former owner of Advanced TENORM Services, pleaded guilty on Feb. 24 to transporting hazardous materials without proper shipping papers, labels or placards.
Between July and August 2015, Hoskins used his companies to broker the illegal transportation of technologically enhanced, naturally occurring radioactive material by preparing fraudulent shipping papers and arranging for the material to be transported by unwitting trucking companies that lacked approval to haul hazardous materials, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General.
Hoskins was initially charged with five counts of wire fraud and 21 counts of transportation of hazardous materials with improper shipping papers.
Per the plea agreement, all the wire fraud charges and all but two of the improper transportation charges were dismissed.
According to the plea agreement, Hopkins founded and operated Advanced TENORM Services and contracted for the transport and disposal of material generated by the oil and gas exploration industry in 2015 and 2016.
He was contracted to transport and dispose of “sludge” from Fairmont Brine Processing LLC, a West Virginia-based plant that processed waste material generated by the oil and gas exploration industry.
Hopkins claimed that his company was capable of testing material for Radium 226 and 228 and could arrange for the transportation and disposal of such material in compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations.
Because the materials were radioactive, regulations required it to be properly classified, labeled, carried and tracked with proper shipping papers, and transported by carriers with hazmat endorsements.
The plea agreement states that Hoskins failed to transport the material via U.S. DOT-compliant trucks, did not hire drivers with hazmat endorsements and did not placard or communicate in any way the trucks or containers to indicate the radioactive nature of the material.
The agreement also states that at least one driver asked whether the transport of the material required a hazmat endorsement and that Hopkins told the driver it did not.
“The defendant represented that the material he contracted to transport, solidify, and dispose of was not hazardous and omitted his knowledge of its radioactive character in his communications with trucking companies and drivers,” the agreement states.
The U.S. DOT Office of Inspector General was assisted in its investigation by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and by the state of Kentucky. LL