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Prosecutors seek 3-year sentence for northeast Ohio businessman accused of dumping toxins

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CLEVELAND — Federal prosecutors are seeking a three-year sentence and a $250,000 fine for the owner of a northeast Ohio oil and gas drilling company accused of dumping large amounts of toxic brine down a storm sewer and into a creek that feeds the Mahoning River.

Sixty-four-year-old Ben Lupo of Poland, Ohio, pleaded guilty in March to one count of unpermitted discharge into U.S. waters. His sentencing is Tuesday in Cleveland.

Prosecutors wrote in a motion that Lupo had employees dump drilling fluids down a storm sewer 33 times between October 2012 and January 2013. The fluids contained chemicals such as benzene, toluene, barium and chlorides.

Lupo's attorneys argue their client made poor choices because of his numerous health problems and that he should receive probation or home detention instead of prison.

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