Tahlequah Man Charged with Environmental Crimes

For Immediate Release: January 17, 2018

Contact: Skylar McElhaney, (405) 702-7167

UPDATE: Percy Sellers of Tahlequah was taken into custody by DEQ investigators January 19, on an outstanding warrant out of Cherokee County District Court. Charges include Unlicensed Pumping of Septic Systems, Engaging in a Pattern of Criminal Offenses, and Engaging in Transactions Involving Unlawful Proceeds.

Percy Sellers of Tahlequah has been charged in Cherokee County District Court with five counts of pumping septic tanks without a license, one count of engaging in a pattern of criminal offenses, and one count of engaging in transactions involving unlawful proceeds. Pumping septic tanks without a license is a misdemeanor; the other two charges are felonies.

The charges are the result a six-month investigation conducted by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality Criminal Investigation Unit. According to documents filed in the case, Sellers operated for several months in 2017 without a septic hauling license, even after repeated verbal and written warnings.

“Oklahoma statutes prohibit any transactions involving money obtained through an illegal activity,” said DEQ Criminal Investigator Michael Freeman. “In this case, our investigation alleges that the defendant obtained illegal proceeds by knowingly operating without a license, and deposited these monies into his bank account.”

If convicted, Sellers could face up to six months in jail and a $10,000 fine on each of the misdemeanors, and up to two years in prison and a $25,000 fine on the felony charges.

The filing of criminal charges only means crimes have been alleged, and suspects are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.