A fugitive who escaped custody in Wyoming four years ago has been added to a list of US environmental crimes fugitives and is being sought by investigators for illegally dumping radioactive oilfield waste in North Dakota in incidents dating back to 2011, authorities say. James Kenneth Ward, 55, is considered violent and dangerous and should not be approached, the EPA's Criminal Investigation Division said in a statement. Prosecutors say Ward illegally disposed of hundreds of pieces of radioactive oil field waste known as filter socks, which are used to strain the sometimes-radioactive fluids produced during oil and gas exploration, the AP reports. A company had paid him to dispose of the waste properly.
Instead of bringing the filter socks to a licensed landfill, prosecutors allege Ward dumped them inside an abandoned gas station just south of the Canada border in Noonan, ND, where they were discovered in March 2014. Authorities later discovered a second major illegal dumping site for the filters in the nearby small city of Crosby. Ward has not been seen since Sept. 2013, when he escaped from a private corrections company during a prison transport when the van he was in stopped at a rest area, according to the EPA. At the time, Ward was being brought from Arizona to Wyoming to face larceny charges for allegedly stealing more than $100,000 from a trucking company in 2010. (Read more radioactive waste stories.)