A huge, 30-acre illegal dump site in the hills seven miles west of Jacksonville will soon be shut down, if Precinct 3 Constable Eddie Lee has his way.

Thanks to an anonymous tipster, Lee discovered that illegal dumping has resumed on private property off FM Road 747 near the Jacksonville West Oil Field initially developed by Exxon.

First discovered three years ago, the site was thought to have been dormant, waiting for someone with the will and the funds to clean it up. Next week Lee plans to file charges against the owner of the property, who Lee says has been charging between $10 and $25 per load. A legal load dumped at a county landfill would cost between $100 and $250.

“It’ll take half a million dollars to clean this up and I doubt that county can afford it,” Constable Lee said Thursday. “If we can find asbestos at the site, perhaps the federal government can get involved.”

Much of the dumping has been done by roofers; piles and piles of asphalt shingles litter the once-beautiful, hilly terrain. Lee estimates that 2,500 loads of asphalt shingles have been dumped at the site. All kinds of trash has been dumped there - even abandoned cars.

The most recent activity involved trash belonging to Fantasy Ballroom owner Mario Trujillo, Lee says. The constable found evidence at the site that he traced back to Trujillo, who Lee says admitted hiring trash hauler Alejandio Rodriguez.

According to Lee, Rodriguez will testify that he paid between $10 and $25 per load to the owner of the property, whose name is being withheld pending his arrest “likely next week,” Lee said.

The landowner(s) face at least two and possibly more counts of receiving illegal commercial trash as well as general trash, Lee said.

“We’re still studying the possible charges,” the constable said. The fines on each count began at $10,000 and carry a two-year prison term.

“But how we will get this cleaned up is anybody’s guess,” Lee said. “It’s a huge mess - maybe the biggest illegal dump site in the state.”

Constable Lee credited the news media with informing people about the prevalence of illegal dump sites in rural East Texas.

“In the old days people put up with this, but no more,” he said. “The news media has done a good job letting the public know about these sites. And we are getting more and more information from sources.

“People just don’t want to put up with this anymore.”

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