Local News

Recycling Rules Might Tighten After City Review

Posted February 19, 2008 9:00 a.m. EST
Updated February 19, 2008 2:16 p.m. EST

— A week after military munitions were discovered at a Raleigh recycling plant, the City Council voted Tuesday to have a committee study possible limits on what such plants can accept.

Two workers were injured last Tuesday when ordnance in a load of scrap metal exploded at at Raleigh Metals Recycling, a scrap processing plant on Garner Road.

A team of munitions experts from Fort Bragg spent the following four days locating and detonating more than 30 explosive devices at the plant. Garner Road had to be shut down and nearby residents were forced from their homes during the operation.

Plant owner Greg Brown said someone sold a load of scrap metal to the plant and his workers didn't recognize the shells as live ammunition. Over the weekend, he said the plant would no longer accept spent military shells.

Mayor Charles Meeker said rules could be adopted to ensure a similar incident could never occur.

“City Council will be looking at whether there need to be rules on recyclers as to how they inspect what comes in,” Meeker said.

The council referred the matter to the Law and Public Safety Committee for review.

Federal authorities are holding two brothers in connection with the case. Javier Gomez-Urieta and Salvador Gomez-Urieta were arrested on immigration violations last week and were being held for questioning by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

Members of the Sanford Police Department's Special Enforcement Unit searched a mobile home at 2725 Carver Drive in Sanford and found artillery shells in the yard similar to the ones that were dropped off at the recycling plant.

Most of the shells were spent, but at least two were live rounds, officials said.

The FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also investigating the case.