DALLAS – A grand jury issued indictments against Columbia Packing Co., Inc. and two of the company’s officers on allegations that blood and other waste was dumped into the Trinity River.
The company is charged with six counts of dumping waste into Cedar Creek. Joe Ondrusek Jr. is charged with the same counts, and his cousin, Donny Ondrusek is charged with tampering evidence. They face fines or prison sentences if convicted.
The indictments come after a year-long investigation by state, local and federal agencies prompted by a tipster’s pictures. Aerial photographs showed a tributary, Cedar Creek, flowing red into the Trinity River. Investigators raided the plant in January. Authorities determined the source was pig blood from the company’s slaughter operation. The Ondruseks said the release was an accident and blamed bad plumbing for the mess. City officials shut down the plant in April, and the company sued the city.
Columbia Packing Co. was founded in 1913 and has been a family owned venture for three generations. The plant is at least 80 years old and located in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas. The company produces ham, bacon and brisket.