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Montana man pleads guilty to 'most egregious environmental crimes' in North Dakota

Montana man pleads guilty to 'most egregious environmental crimes' in North Dakota

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BISMARCK, N.D. — A Montana executive accused of dumping toxic drilling liquid and endangering drinking water for a county in southwest North Dakota has pleaded guilty to 11 felony charges in federal court.

Executive Drilling LLC President Nathan Garber, of Kalispell, appeared in federal court in Bismarck on Friday. The 45-year-old Garber faces 30 to 37 months in federal prison, under a plea deal with prosecutors. Garber also agreed to cooperate with federal authorities in an ongoing investigation.

U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon called the case among the "most egregious environmental crimes" to occur in North Dakota.

The criminal charges against Garber are connected to a state case against Halek Operating, which was fined a record $1.5 million for illegally dumping wastewater in Stark County.

Authorities said Garber ordered the illegal dumping.

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