ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The man accused of spreading poisonous chemicals along Karluk Street in 2018 has been found guilty.
Ronald Alleva, 67, was convicted on April 30 and of reckless endangerment, pollution, unauthorized pesticide distribution and misuse of a pesticide.
According to a press release from the State, in June of 2018 APD and the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Environmental Crimes unit began investigating Alleva after an unknown white substance was found along the street.
The investigation determined that Alleva, the president of Grubstake Auction Co., had told employees to spread Zappit 73, an EPA designated hazardous material, within a block of Bean’s Cafe and Brother Francis Shelter. At the time, Grubstake Auction Co., was located on the same block.
Assistant Attorney General Carole Holley explained that the location of those two organizations could have played a role. "Part of our case was that the motive here was potentially that Mr. Alleva has a certain animus to the homeless population," she said in a phone interview. "There was a real potential to cause serious physical injuries to these people that don’t have all the same resources that we may have.”
Alleva has been outspoken in the past, as his business is next door to the Brother Francis Shelter and Bean's Cafe. He's often spoken out about his frustration over what he says are people taking drugs, defacing his business's property and stealing things.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Zappit is very dangerous to humans and domestic animals. It can cause irreversible eye damage, skin burns, and could be fatal if swallowed. The pesticide can also be detrimental to the environment if it enters a body of water.
Holley says something else brought up during the trial was that if it had rained after the pesticide was spread, "it could’ve washed down the storm drains into Ship Creek. The very first paragraph on the pesticide container says it is highly toxic to fish and aquatic organisms," Holley said. "So it would’ve killed salmon roe, and could’ve severely impacted nesting birds in the area.”
Channel 2 has also reached out to Alleva and his attorney for comment.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 21.
Channel 2's Mike Ross also contributed to this report.
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