Attorney General prevails against Motion to Dismiss in criminal case against Route 6/10 construction firm and senior employee charged with illegally dumping thousands of tons of contaminated fill
An indictment, information, or complaint is merely an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced today that the Office has prevailed against a motion to dismiss in the State’s ongoing criminal case against Barletta Heavy Division, the Massachusetts-based construction firm charged with illegally dumping thousands of tons of contaminated fill during the construction of the Route 6/10 Interchange, and a senior Barletta employee, Dennis Ferreira.
At a hearing on February 2, 2024, in Providence Superior Court, Superior Court Justice Maureen B. Keough ruled in favor of the State, rejecting the defendant’s motion to dismiss, which allows the State to proceed in the prosecution of its case. The defendants had filed their motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 9.1 of Rhode Island Superior Court Rules of Criminal Procedure, alleging the State lacked sufficient probable cause when it charged the case by way of criminal information.
“I am grateful for Judge Keough’s well-reasoned decision at this stage of an important case that at its core is about environmental justice,” said Attorney General Neronha. “As alleged in the information, the defendants used the 6/10 site as an environmental dumping ground, and worse yet, they made Rhode Island a dumping ground for Massachusetts waste. The alleged actions of the defendants come at the expense of Rhode Islanders’ public health and their environment. Rhode Island’s environmental and public health laws exist for a reason, which is to keep Rhode Islanders safe, and to preserve our environment. We will continue to aggressively enforce those laws. Because Rhode Islanders deserve nothing less.”
The case is next scheduled for pre-trial conference on February 12, 2024.
The State’s memorandum in support of its objection to the defendant’s motion to dismiss can be found here.
The prosecution of the state case is being led by Assistant Attorney General John Moreira, Special Assistant Stephen G. Dambruch, Chief of the Criminal Division, and Sergeant Sheila Paquette of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Division of Law Enforcement.
About the Attorney General’s case
On January 18, 2023, Attorney General Neronha charged a Massachusetts-based construction firm and a former employee with illegally dumping thousands of tons of contaminated fill at project sites in Providence during the construction of the Route 6/10 Interchange construction project.
The Attorney General charged Barletta Heavy Division, Inc. (Barletta), with two counts of illegal disposal of solid waste, one count of operating a solid waste management facility without a license, and one count of providing a false document to a public official. Barletta is a Canton, Mass.-based construction firm, overseeing the ongoing $247 million Route 6/10 Interchange highway construction project that began in 2018.
The Attorney General also charged Dennis Ferreira (age 62), of Holliston, Mass., a former senior employee of Barletta, with two counts of illegal disposal of solid waste, one count of operating a solid waste management facility without a license, and one count of providing a false document to a public official.
Separately, on December 14, 2022, Dennis Ferreira pleaded guilty in federal court to three counts of making a false statement in connection with a federally funded highway project. As announced by U.S. Attorney Zachary Cunha, on June 20, 2023, Dennis Ferreira was sentenced to one year probation and ordered to pay a fine of $40,000. Additionally, Barletta agreed to pay a total of $1.5 million to the federal government.