TAMPA (FOX 13) - The cleanup has begun. Bulldozers are moving massive loads of trash left on an illegal dumpsite on East Broadway Avenue.
"Are you kidding me?" asked Victor Thomas, who lives in a housing complex next door to the site. "I am on my way to work. I'll smile all the way there. That's great news."
For months, neighbors have been dealing with bugs and smell from the piles of trash that cover much of the six-acre property.
"I have been with the Hillborough sheriff's environmental section for 20 years, and I have never seen dumping of this magnitude," offered Detective David Stofflet.
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office investigators blame Robert Rogan for the environmental disaster. Rogan owns All American Waste Services and Payless Waste Services. They say he paid the owner of the property, Aaron Thomas, $100 per load to illegally dump.
That's about one-third the cost to dump – legally – at the county landfill.
"Clearly, his motivation was monetary. He really did not care how his actions impacted anyone else," said Ron Spiller, who heads up the county's code enforcement division.
Rogan faces up to five years in prison if he is convicted of illegal dumping.
If Thomas doesn't pay the $175,000 cost of clean-up and close to $50,000 in fines, the county could seize his property and sell it.