Phillip Earl Leavitt, 39, of Kensington, Calif., was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of dumping lethal chemicals on Ortega Highway. The arrest came hours after his brother pleaded innocent to felony charges in connection with the dumping.
South Municipal Court Judge Arthur Koelle had released Richard Duane Leavitt, 37, of South Laguna on Tuesday morning on his own recognizance and ordered him to appear in court for a pretrial hearing March 18. He faces one count of illegally transporting chemicals and another charge of illegally disposing of them. Each count carries a maximum of three years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
Later Tuesday, Sheriff's Department deputies and California Highway Patrol officers arrested the older brother, Phillip, in Albany, Calif., sheriff's spokesman Lt. Richard Olson said. Phillip Leavitt was to be returned Tuesday night to be booked in County Jail on suspicion of dumping hazardous waste, Olson said.
County health officials have termed the dumping, first discovered Jan. 13, the worst case of its kind in the county's history. Witnesses who reported seeing the green-and-white rental van that led to Richard Leavitt's arrest Jan. 22 told investigators there were two men in it.