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Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced Thursday that Gilbert W. Francis, 55, of Temple Hills pleaded guilty in Calvert County Circuit Court to unlawfully placing soil and sediment in a location where it is likely to be washed into waters of the state.

Judge Warren J. Krug gave Francis a 30-day suspended sentence and imposed a $500 fine. Francis was also placed on probation for one year and ordered to perform 20 hours of community service, according to a press release from the Office of the Attorney General.

“Preserving our state’s troubled waterways becomes even more challenging when individuals recklessly add to the problem,” Gansler said in the release. “This irresponsible action demonstrates the importance of enforcing laws designed to protect the environment.”

The Calvert County Department of Community Planning and Building discovered the unlawful activity upon responding to an illegal dumping complaint. It was referred to the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Environmental Crimes Unit of the Office of the Attorney General, according to the release.

Truckloads of solid waste consisting of construction and demolition debris, mattresses, pipes, toilet fixtures and other debris had been dumped on the property on Yellow Bank Road in Dunkirk.

Francis, an employee of Hyattsville-based American Contractors Inc., was observed operating a Bobcat on the property, the release states. The solid waste and soil was dumped on an extremely steep slope leading to a stream below, a tributary of the Patuxent River. The property owner’s son had responded to an ad on Craigslist for free fill dirt and had contacted Francis’ employer to deliver dirt to the property, which his mother owns.

In the press release, Gansler thanked Assistant Attorney General Jay Robinson and Chief Investigator David Williams for their hard work on the case.

In a separate but related case, Francis’ employer, American Contractors Inc., also pleaded guilty Nov. 14 to unlawfully disposing solid waste and performing construction without obtaining an approved Sediment Control Plan. The company was ordered to pay $14,290 in restitution to the property owner for the cost of cleaning up the dumped waste, imposed a fine of $30,000 with all but $10,000 suspended and placed on five years probation.

KATIE FITZPATRICK