Environmental fugitives get own most-wanted list

By DINA CAPPIELLO, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – The government is starting a different kind of most-wanted list — for environmental fugitives accused of assaulting nature.

These fugitives allegedly smuggled chemicals that eat away the Earth’s protective ozone layer, dumped hazardous waste into oceans and rivers and trafficked in polluting cars.

And now the government wants help in tracking them down.

In its own version of the FBI most-wanted list, and the first to focus on environmental crimes, the Environmental Protection Agency is unveiling a roster of 23 fugitives, complete with mug shots and descriptions of the charges on its Web site at http://www.epa.gov/fugitives.

A top EPA enforcement official said the people on the list represent the “brazen universe of people that are evading the law.” Many face years in prison and some charges could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

“They are charged with environmental crimes and they should be brought before the criminal justice system and have their day in court,” said Pete Rosenberg, a director in the agency’s criminal enforcement division.

On display will be John Karayannides, who allegedly helped orchestrate the dumping of 487 tons of wheat tainted with diesel fuel into the South China Sea in 1998. Karayannides is believed to have fled to Athens, Greece.

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