JACKSON, Miss. – Two men appeared in federal court Friday for illegally discharging industrial waste into the Jackson Sewer System. It is unclear if this is linked to the water crisis.
A nine-count federal indictment was unsealed in Jackson on Sept. 2, charging Thomas Douglas, Jr., 61, and John Welch, Sr., 61, with carrying out a scheme whereby industrial waste from their company, Gold Coast Commodities, was discharged illegally into the sewer system.
The men have been arrested and charged with felonies for illegally discharging industrial waste in the Jackson Sewer System, conspiracy and making false statements.
The Environmental Protection Agency is investigating the case.
Fewer people are coming to the largest city in the Magnolia state due to unhealthy water. Visiting Jackson has provided thousands of dollars of grant money to help ease the stress of increased costs due to the water crisis.
Around the nation, people are sending help to Jackson as they try to recover from a crisis that seems impossible in a modern American city.
The men are considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is set for trial on Nov. 7 in U.S. District Court in Jackson. If the men are convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison on Count 1 of the indictment, three years in prison on each of Counts 2-6 of the indictment, and five years in prison on each Counts 7-8 as to Douglas and Count 9 as to Welch.