Men fined for dumping cooking oil

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WATERBURY — Two men who took part in illegal dumping of cooking oil in Naugatuck last year pleaded guilty to littering and larceny March 13 as part of a plea deal.

Chang Mei Zou, 30, and Yu Xiang Zheng, 24, appeared in Waterbury Superior Court where they pleaded guilty to littering and sixth-degree larceny. The men were spared jail time and will need to each pay a $199 fine.

The investigation that led to the fine and arrests started when a borough resident reported two men dumping oil from a commercial truck behind a shopping plaza on Rubber Avenue.

The two men departed before Naugatuck police arrived on the scene, but the responding officers observed a 3,900-foot trail of spilled oil leading from the nearby Stop & Shop loading dock to the dumping site.

Police determined the men stole the cooking oil by loading it onto tanks in the rear of the box truck. Discovering that the tanks were overfilled, police say they pulled into a wetlands area and dumped the used cooking oil from the truck onto the ground.

The truck was seized amid allegations of illegal dumping near a wetlands, but Quin Zen Chen, the owner of R & L Oil Recycling in New Britain, paid a $7,000 fine to secure the return of the box truck.