LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Two men were sentenced to six months in prison for violating the Clean Air Act when renovating a Las Vegas warehouse into a marijuana grow facility.
Rene Morales and Hector Vasquez of Top Rank Builders were hired to renovate the warehouse on Western Avenue just east of I-15. According to court documents, they had workers remove the drywall and ceiling texture they should have known would contain asbestos. No abatement measures were used which resulted in asbestos fibers being released into the air. Asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer and other diseases.
“The defendants knowingly ignored regulations on the safe management of asbestos, putting workers and the public at risk,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Benjamin Carr of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division in Nevada. “The sentences demonstrate that the EPA and our law enforcement partners will pursue and prosecute those who intentionally violate environmental laws and endanger our communities.”
The men also admitted to lying to investigators about their involvement in the project and also took steps to cover up what happened.