Our California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) members who are investigators with the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) may be meager in numbers but certainly not in might.
“Our investigators with DTSC are determined and diligent,” said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. “This is a shining example of how they work to protect our health and environment and expose any wrongdoing.”
This month, their investigative work resulted in a $16.5 million settlement involving drugstore giant Walgreens. Walgreens admitted to no wrongdoing when it agreed to pay the $16.5 million to settle a lawsuit that accused the company of illegally dumping pharmaceuticals, pesticides, paint and other hazardous materials.
Investigators with DTSC discovered the illegal dumping during a three-year investigation. That investigation included inspecting the garbage bins from a number of Walgreens stores. Not only did investigators say they found hazardous materials in bins dumped at local landfills, but also found medical information belonging to customers.
With just seven sworn peace officers and three supervisors throughout the entire state, this investigative unit has its work cut out for it. The team also investigated Costco, Walmart, C-V-S and Target. Some of these companies have recently agreed to settlements similar to Walgreens’.
The Walgreens settlement will, in part, fund environmental projects and enforcement in California.