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    Police Crack Down on Hazardous Waste Mafia in Katowice Region

    In a major breakthrough, the officers from the Department for Combating Pseudo-Fanaticism Crime of the Katowice Regional Police have been working under the supervision of the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Katowice on a case involving the so-called “waste mafia” since 2021. The complexity and multi-faceted nature of the case have led to a collaboration between the police, the Lubelski Customs and Tax Office in Biała Podlaska, and the inspectors from the Katowice Provincial Environmental Protection Inspectorate. As a result of their joint efforts, an organized criminal group has been dismantled, and charges have been brought against six individuals. According to investigators, during their criminal activities, the perpetrators illegally disposed of approximately 1200 tons of hazardous waste.

    The officers from the Department for Combating Pseudo-Fanaticism Crime of the Katowice Regional Police uncovered the activities of a criminal group involved in illegal waste disposal. Investigators determined that in 2021, these criminals not only operated within the Silesian Voivodeship but also extended their activities beyond its borders. Their operations included organizing sources of hazardous waste supply, identifying locations for illegal dumping, arranging transportation and unloading, as well as transporting and storing waste in violation of existing regulations.

    To unravel the activities of this group, investigators from the Katowice Regional Police established close cooperation with the Lubelski Customs and Tax Office in Biała Podlaska and the Katowice Provincial Environmental Protection Inspectorate. The collective efforts of these agencies allowed for the identification of individuals participating in the illegal operation and the mechanisms behind their activities.

    In September 2023, officers from the Department for Combating Pseudo-Fanaticism Crime of the Katowice Regional Police, together with officials from the Lubelski Customs and Tax Office in Biała Podlaska and the inspectors from the Katowice Provincial Environmental Protection Inspectorate, arrested five men aged between 29 and 52, and a 48-year-old woman.

    Organized crime group illegally disposed of 1200 tons of dangerous waste

    The supervising prosecutor from the I Department for Economic Crime of the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Katowice has charged them with participating in a criminal group and falsifying documentation to legitimize their criminal activities. Additionally, one of the suspects is accused of leading the group. It has been established that all of the perpetrators had turned their criminal activities into a steady source of income. The men face up to 10 years in prison, while the woman could be sentenced to up to 8 years of imprisonment.

    Upon the request of the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Katowice, a preventive measure in the form of temporary detention was imposed on the five men, whereas the woman was subjected to police supervision and property bail.

    According to investigators, three of the men involved in the criminal operation have connections to the pseudo-fanaticism community of Silesian sports clubs.

    The methods employed by the criminals for waste disposal included renting warehouse halls or fenced-off areas, such as those in Bytom, Mikołów, Sosnowiec, and the counties of Zawiercie and Będzin. Once these spaces were filled with waste, the perpetrators would disappear, leaving behind a staggering total of approximately 1200 tons of waste.

    Examinations conducted on-site by an expert in physicochemistry and forensic chemistry revealed that a significant portion of the waste was highly dangerous, exhibiting corrosive, mutagenic, toxic, and carcinogenic properties. In the event of their seepage into the soil or water sources, these substances could have caused contamination that posed a severe threat to human health and even life, as well as irreversible damage to the plant and animal ecosystems.

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