Mail used to track down people illegally dumping trash in Valencia County

New Mexico

LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s usually pretty hard to track down litterbugs, people who dump bags of trash and old furniture right out in the open.

Investigators in Valencia County are sifting through the rubbish looking for clues and it’s paying off. “You see out here all these dirt roads that lead up to the cell phone tower there will be trash and things dumped out in remote locations,” said Lt. Joseph Rowland.

Now Valencia County Code Enforcement is figuring out exactly where the trash in these illegal dumpsites is coming from. Once a dumpsite is located, before everything is hauled off investigators will go through it looking for identifying information.

In the past three days, code enforcement officers have cited nine people for illegally dumping their trash after finding their mail in the middle of all the mess.

“This is the time of year it gets bad because people are cleaning they are taking stuff to where it shouldn’t be,” said Gabriel Luna, a land-use planner.

County officials say in some cases people have paid someone to take their trash to the dump, but it’s ending up on the side of a road instead.

“It appears to be more family members, acquaintances, not a professional company or it’s not the same people going around making some sort of business out of it,” said Rowland.

Officials say taking violators to court is a last resort and they use the personal information they find to give the offenders a chance to clean up the mess first.

Code enforcement gives violators ten days to respond and 30 days to clean up the trash. If the case makes it to court, the violator could face a fine determined by the judge.

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