Holbrook couple arrested for illegally dumping solid waste in protected wetland

Holbrook couple arrested for illegally dumping solid waste in protected wetland

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Photo from TOB Dan Panico Facebook

Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney announced on May 24 that Fabio Monasterolo, 51, and his wife, Judith Monasterolo, 55, of Holbrook, are accused of unlawfully disposing of broken cinderblocks and concrete in the Town of Brookhaven near tidal wetlands.

“Using our precious wetlands as a personal junkyard is as selfish as it is destructive,” said District Attorney Tierney. “This flagrant abuse of our delicate ecosystem is a crime against our wildlife and every law-abiding taxpayer who supports these public lands.”

“Illegal dumping in our wetlands is a crime in the Town of Brookhaven that we take very seriously. Those who commit these crimes will be caught, charged and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Edward Romaine. “I commend the brave actions of the resident who took it upon themselves to photograph and report this activity to the Suffolk County Police. Together, we are committed to protecting our environment and we will not tolerate illegal dumping happening anywhere in the Town.”

“DEC does not tolerate illegal dumping of any kind particularly in Long Island’s ecologically important wetland areas,” said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos. “This joint effort by DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers and Investigators, the town of Brookhaven, and detectives from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Biological, Environmental, and Animal Safety Team is a prime example of how joint cooperation between state and local law enforcement agencies can hold polluters accountable.”

According to the investigation, on April 23, 2023, at approximately 2:03 p.m., the Monasterolos were observed allegedly illegally dumping solid waste, which included broken chunks of concrete and cinderblocks, from their black Dodge Ram pick-up truck, into the wetlands adjacent to the intersection of Jefferson Drive and Grove Road in Mastic Beach. That intersection and the surrounding areas are owned by the Town of Brookhaven and abut a tidal wetland. When a witness saw what the defendants were doing, she began taking several photographs of the couple and the waste that they had dumped. Defendant Judith Monasterolo, who was in the passenger seat of the Dodge Ram, allegedly then gave this witness two middle fingers as Fabio Monasterolo drove them away from the scene.

Pursuant to the District Attorney’s Quality-of-Life Town Coalition initiative, Brookhaven Town Officials contacted the District Attorney’s Office and provided the photographic evidence and information regarding the dumping crime. Detectives from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Biological, Environmental, and Animal Safety Team (BEAST) immediately began an investigation. The defendants were subsequently arrested on May 1, 2023. The Town of Brookhaven initiated the remediation of the protected site.

On May 23, 2023, both defendants were arraigned on the charges by the Honorable Mary Mullen for the crimes of Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree, a Class E felony, and multiple related Environmental Conservation violations. Under current New York State law, the offenses charged are not considered bail eligible, so the defendants were released on their own recognizance. The defendants are due back in court on June 13, 2023. Fabio Monasterolo and Judith Monasterolo are being represented by Jorge Macias, Esq.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney John Sciandra of the Biological, Environmental, and Animal Safety Team (BEAST), with investigative assistance from Suffolk County BEAST Detective Walter Justinic, DEC Environmental Conservation Officer Timothy Day, and DEC Environmental Conservation Investigator Jeremy Eastwood.