By CALEB SLINKARD
Callaghan Enterprises has become the focus of Hunt County’s criminal investigation into the alleged dumping that resulted in illegal levels of toxic heavy metals near a storage facility southwest of Greenville.
The company, which is operated by Brad Callaghan, rented the property that produced the test results, located behind Tugger Trailers off of Interstate 30E. No charges have been filed in the case, and the criminal investigation is ongoing officials say. Callaghan has hired Walter James, a Texas-based environmental law attorney, to represent him.
“They refine precious metals out of airplane parts,” James said, noting that the property had previously housed a junk yard and indicating that the junk yard may have been the source of the toxic elements. “[Callaghan] is cooperating fully with the authorities on this. The process that Mr. Callaghan uses does not produce arsenic, cadmium and lead.”
Callaghan previously worked for Industrial Precious Metals Recovery Inc. (IPMR), a company in Royse City whose vice president and operations manager William Lafon Musgrove pleaded guilty in the fall of 2013 to one count of negligent release of an extremely hazardous substance. Musgrove was sentenced to 36 months of probation and fined $10,000.
James confirmed that Callaghan did work for IPMR, but said he was a sales manager who did not participate in the recovery process and that Callaghan assisted the EPA with their investigation of Musgrove.
“He understands his responsibilities under the law, and he’s doing it the right way,” he said.
The Hunt County Department of Homeland Security is continuing the test the area, according to director Richard Hill. Samples from two 25 foot monitoring wells that were installed by the county at the site have been sent off for testing, as have samples from dead fish that were discovered at a nearby pond. Hill said his office is sending all of the information they receive to the Sabine River Authority, who operate Lake Tawakoni, and that the SRA continues to monitor levels in Lake Tawakoni. No tests have revealed that Lake Tawakoni has been affected by the illegal dumping.
According to Hill, the county has spent approximately $20,000 testing the area and installing the monitoring wells.
Hill said that two loads of dirt were removed from the location before the county’s investigation began.
“We know where the other two loads of dirt went before our investigation started,” he said.
James disputed Hill’s statement, claiming that the two loads of dirt are still on site.