Racketeering, Some Other Charges Dismissed
FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) _ One of four men indicted in a cattle feed contamination that resulted in the quarantining of more than 140 dairy herds has pleaded guilty to two charges.
Also Monday, U.S. District Judge Morris ″Buzz″ Arnold dismissed the charge of racketeering, the most serious in the 52-count indictment, against the four.
More than 140 dairy herds, including 122 in Arkansas, were quarantined last spring because of contamination or suspected contamination by heptachlor, a banned cancer-causing pesticide. Authorities recalled milk from stores in eight states; estimated losses exceeded $13.5 million.
After the government presented its case, Jerry Finley of Claremore, Okla., pleaded guilty to two charges of pollution violations. He had been charged with 10 counts in the indictment.
The remaining charges against the other defendants, Jack and Henry White of Van Buren and Brownie McBride of Greenwood, include food and drug violations, wire fraud, mail fraud, pollution violations and interstate transportation of money obtained by fraud.
Jack White owned Valley Feeds in Van Buren, Henry White worked for the feed company and McBride was superintendent for a Van Buren gasohol plant that Jack White leased from the Farmers Co-Op of Arkansas and Oklahoma Inc. Finley had been president of the feed company.
The prosecution contends the defendants conspired to sell dairy farmers feed made from the by-product of the Van Buren gasohol plant and knew that the corn mash was tainted with the chemical aflatoxin and the chemical pesticide heptachlor.
The trial of the four, indicted last November, began May 11.
Arnold advised Finley that he could be sentenced up to one year in prison and be fined up to $25,000 per day of discharge violations on each count. Finley will be sentenced after the trial.