DORAL, Fla. – The director of the Miami-Dade Police Department is praising people who film environmental crimes in action. Case in point, a woman’s cell phone video of a truck dumping dirty water into a Doral lake led to the arrests of two employees in charge of a Cutler Bay company.
Witnesses reported seeing a South Florida Vac-Con Service truck disposing dark water on June 17, in the community of Valencia at Doral’s Lake Mario, and, using that video, MDPD detectives identified the suspects. They now face felony littering charges and civil fines.
“When people think they’re not being watched, interesting things happen,” MDPD Director George Perez said.
Dayron Barreto, 25, is the manager of Cutler Bay-based South Florida Vac-Con Service, and Julio Barreto, 51, is the president, according to an MDPD arrest report.
The elder Barreto refused to speak to Local 10 News when we showed up at his doorstep seeking comment.
They told police officers they were in the community on June 16 and June 17 to pump out 22 clogged storm drains and when the truck reached capacity, they dumped about 100 gallons of stormwater in the lake, according to the report.
Perez said the stormwater itself wasn’t necessarily the problem. It’s what it could have been mixed with.
“Here’s the issue: that truck is utilized to extract septic tanks, grease trappers and these are all very strong contaminants,” he said. “That stormwater, mixed in there with the contents of the tank and then going into that aquatic area of that lake, that body of water, has very severe adverse effects for people, for our community. We can’t stand for that.”
Perez said the department’s illegal dumping unit, revived in 2017, investigated the crime alongside state environmental officials. He said crimes like this, or a recent case of a man and woman accused of throwing deflated balloons into Biscayne Bay, are ones the agency takes seriously.
In addition to the two arrests, officers issued about $12,500 in civil citations to De La Torre General Service, South Florida Vac-Con Service, and Valencia at Doral.