Crime - Sacto 911

Crime Q&A: What happened to man convicted of illegally storing hazardous waste, explosives?

Q: Do you know what happened to Frank Fiorillo? He and his family operated a warehouse on 47th Avenue in Sacramento years ago. Some of the charges against him were illegal dumping and tax evasion. He was sentenced, then arrested at a local airport trying to leave the country in a private plane.

Robin, Roseville

A: A federal jury in July 1997 found Carmichael resident Frank Fiorillo Jr. guilty of wire fraud, storing corrosive hazardous waste without a permit and receiving explosives without a permit.

A federal judge sentenced him to more than four years in prison, finding that he “placed the community in extreme danger because of greed” when he stored leaking containers of hazardous waste and 500 tons of high explosives in a warehouse across the street from the Sacramento Army Depot, which was still operating at the time.

According to stories in The Sacramento Bee, Fiorillo’s West Coast Airways Industries Inc. took delivery in 1992 and 1993 of 114 missile warheads and rocket motors, as well as approximately 17,000 155-mm artillery shells. The firm had a contract to repackage and ship the weaponry to Taiwan. But the company had neither the local nor federal permits required to house the arsenal in its Elder Creek warehouse.

Firefighters discovered the cache in August 1993. While gathering information about the explosives and developing a plan for their safe removal, a battalion chief discovered numerous leaking hazardous material containers throughout the warehouse. The material turned out to be deteriorated cleaning and sanitizing products.

Fiorillo and Art Krueger, his business partner and co-defendant, had collected more than $250,000 from the manufacturer under a 1993 contract to transport and dispose of the products. Authorities said the men sent the manufacturer phony certificates showing that the caustic material had been disposed of in accord with applicable laws.

After the verdict against Fiorillo was returned, the judge ordered him jailed pending sentencing based on government evidence that Fiorillo was planning to flee to Margarita Island off the coast of Venezuela. Fiorilo reportedly asked Krueger to handle some of his affairs, such as selling his house and closing his office. Krueger later approached the FBI, saying he had come to realize that the favors he was doing for Fiorillo indicated an escape plan.

According to an online index of federal prison inmates, Fiorillo was released from prison in November 2000.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy