Jerry Gaskill, director of the North Carolina Department of Transportation's Ferry Division, was indicted Jan. 18 by a federal grand jury in Raleigh, N.C., on four counts of violating the Clean Water Act, the Rivers and Harbor Act, and of making material false statements that relate directly to the crime.
The indictment alleges that Gaskill and others conspired between at least October 2003 and October 2004 to dredge and fill navigable waters of the U.S. without a permit and lied to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about doing so. Gaskin and others are alleged to have pushed N.C. Dept. of Transportation (DOT) vessels into a river basin, altering the basin's bottom and using the vessels' propellers to make a channel in the Currituck Sound adjacent to Heritage Park ecosystem in Corolla, N.C. Gaskill allegedly signed a false statement claiming that creation of the channel was unintentional and submitted it to the Army Corps of Engineers.
If convicted on all four counts, Gaskill could receive fines of more than $850,000 and up to 14 years imprisonment. Billy R. Moore, Herbert F. O'Neal, Douglas A. Bateman and Stephen G. Smith, four other N.C. DOT employees, previously pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the incident.
The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, with assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office for the eastern district of North Carolina.