Local 4 Defenders ride along as Detroit police arrest illegal dumping suspects

Police place cameras throughout city to catch illegal dumpers

DETROIT – Detroit police have strategically placed cameras throughout the city to catch illegal dumpers in the act.

Once police capture video of the dumpers, they head out to track them down, and the Local 4 Defenders went along for the arrests.

People too often dump their junk, trash, furniture and more on the side of the street in Detroit.

Police said Juan Jones is one of the dumpers who thought he could get away with it, leaving a crib and some other trash on the side of the street.

His car was captured on video, and police said they tracked his plate.

"We've got blight violations here for the items that you dumped," Detroit police Lt. Rebecca McKay said.

She found Jones working at a Detroit car wash.

"You have a right to remain silent," McKay told Jones.

"Are you surprised you're getting arrested?" Local 4 Defender Karen Drew asked.

"Yeah, but I'm owning up to it," Jones said.

"Why did you dump it there, sir?" Karen asked.

"Somebody told me to dump it there," Jones said.

Jones was arrested and the car he used was towed. He will have to pay to get it back and pay a $200 blight violation fine, police said.

"I searched him and he had a pistol on him," McKay said. "A loaded pistol and he does have a CPL. However, the weapon has a defaced serial number. We don't know where it came from. We don't know who has possessed it."

Detroit police said they also caught Kenneth Johnson driving a white truck dumping old couch cushions on the city's west side. They're still trying to track him down.

Police received a search warrant to take his truck since it was documented in the illegal dumping, so that's what they did, according to authorities.

Cameras also captured video of a red truck dumping junk in another west-side neighborhood, police said.

Officers showed up at Rafael Campos-Mercado's home.

"His wife answered," McKay said. "He's not home. She was familiar with the fact that he had dumped the debris and she gave us the keys to get into the gate."

While police were preparing to take the truck, Campos-Mercado showed up.

"I'm going to have you put your hands behind your back," McKay said.

"Why did you do that dumping?" Karen asked. "Why didn't you just take it to a landfill?"

"I don't know," Campos-Mercade said. "I feel like it was, you know, something easy to do. This is my first time doing it. I've never done it before, and, you know, I really regret it."

"It's not worth it," McKay said. "Take it to a dump. Pay the minimal fee that it is to get rid of this debris legally and go on about your day. You don't have to worry about losing your car or your freedom."

Since the program began about 18 months ago, there have been 125 arrests, 259 blight violations and 122 vehicle seizures.

Anyone who witnesses illegal dumping in Detroit is asked to call 911 and then follow up with a call to the tip line at 313-235-4359.

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