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Lab Owner Ordered to Pay $544,000 For Environmental Violation

KANSAS CITY, KAN. – The owner of the now-closed Beta Chem Laboratory in Lenexa has been ordered to pay $544,287 in restitution for storing hazardous waste without a license, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.

Ahmed El-Sherif, 63, Leawood, Kan., was found guilty in a bench trial of storing hazardous waste without a license. El-Sherif started Beta Chem in the mid-1990s, which he owned and operated. On October 4, 2013, after issuing an Emergency Order to Seize and Secure Radioactive Materials, KDHE took control of Beta Chem and secured the facility.

The Criminal Investigation Division of Environmental Protection Agency executed a search warrant at Beta Chem on Jan. 22, 2014, where agents discovered numerous containers containing hazardous wastes and contaminated with radiation.

During trial, U.S. District Court Judge Julie A. Robinson found that by 2012 Beta Chem had become a defunct operation and hazardous chemicals were being stored at the facility in lieu of a thorough decommissioning and decontamination process.

Robinson found El-Sherif not guilty on a charge of obstructing a federal investigation.

El-Sherif will serve two years on federal probation.

McAllister commended the EPA Criminal Investigation Division and the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice for their work on the case.

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