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Superintendent of Douglas County landfill arrested

Four other landfill employees also arrested
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Posted at 10:00 PM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 17:48:22-04

OMAHA, NE — The superintendent of the Douglas County landfill and 4 other landfill employees, along with two other people, were all arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office and the Douglas County Attorney's Office both confirmed information 3 News Now received about the arrests.

Arrested were:
* 68-year-old Mark C. Huntley - the Superintendent of the Douglas County landfill
* 53-year-old Mark E. Helmberger - a landfill employee
* 24-year-old Anahi Lara - a landfill employee
* 36-year-old Suzanne N. Swanson - a landfill employee
* 66-year-old James E. Sudyka - a landfill employee
* 43-year-old Hector Flores
* 63-year-old Gary D. Cooper

According to sources, the 4 employees under Huntley all worked at the landfill scalehouse, where waste being dumped is weighed to determine how much customers are charged. All of those arrested have been accused of being involved in a scheme to manipulate the weights of waste being brought in to the landfill, overcharging customers, and pocketing the extra money.
All six were booked into the Douglas County Detention Facility and charged with criminal conspiracy.

On Friday morning the Douglas County Sheriff's Office released more details on the arrests in a news release:

On 13 November 2020 the DCSO received a report of on-going theft of services from the Douglas County Pheasant Point Landfill. The information initially provided stated employees of the Pheasant Point Landfill, operated by Douglas County employees, were manipulating the weights of vehicles both entering and exiting the landfill to alter the owed amounts. This was alleged to have allowed the scale house employees to underreport the funds collected from customers and keep the difference.

The DCSO focused their investigation on the Pheasant Point Landfill scale house employees and the involved landfill customers. During the investigation it was learned five Douglas County employees had participated in the on-going theft. These employees had selected landfill customers (area businesses that used the landfill frequently) and allowed them to dump their refuse at vastly reduced rates or for free. The investigation identified at least one scale house employee who received consistent monetary compensation from one of the businesses. This employee was known to dispense “tips” to the other scale house employees.

The investigation focused on the period beginning June 2020 through the present. During that period two businesses were identified as receiving egregious levels of financial benefits or providing a monetary benefit to scale house employees. It was learned, one of the businesses would provide a monetary benefit to a scale house employee during almost every scale house transaction, resulting in a reduced cost to dump refuse at the Pheasant Point Landfill.

On Thursday 15 April 2021 Felony Arrest Warrants were secured for seven suspects.