Wyoming Fugitive Sought For Dumping Radioactive Waste
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's criminal investigation division has issued a bulletin about a fugitive last seen in Wyoming wanted on federal fraud charges of illegally dumping radioactive waste in North Dakota.
James Kenneth Ward was last seen in March 2013 during a prison transport from Phoenix when he escaped custody in the Wyoming desert, according to the EPA's wanted poster and news release. The poster does not identify the desert.
Ward, 55, is considered violent and dangerous and should not be approached, according to the EPA.
He was already a fugitive. He was returned to the United States to face larceny charges in Wyoming when he escaped.
In April, a grand jury for the U.S. District Court in Montana indicted Ward on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud.
The indictment says Ward, sometimes with his company "JK Services" and others, contracted with a Colorado-based corporation, Zenith Produced Water, LLC.
Zenith owned and operated saltwater disposal wells that injected wastewater into the ground. The wastewater is a byproduct of water used in hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." That water has solids that are pollutants and radioactive substances that are trapped in tubular nets called "filter bags" or "filter socks."
According to the contract, Ward, JK Services and others were supposed to dispose of the filter socks in a proper facility licensed by North Dakota.
Instead, Ward dumped them in an abandoned gas station in Noonan, N.D. From April 2011 through February 2014, Ward and others sent invoices to Zenith for totaling $9,970 for the disposals.
The EPA did not explain the four-month delay from the time of the indictment to Tuesday's announcement that he was wanted by the criminal information division.
Anyone with information about Ward should contact the U.S. EPA's Criminal Investigation Division in Montana at (406) 670-0992, or contact the division's office in Denver at (303) 312-6458.