California men sent to prison in asbestos cleanup

MERCED, Calif. (AP) — Two Central California men accused of using high school students to remove cancer-causing asbestos from a building have been sentenced to federal prison.

The Merced Sun-Star reports ( that a judge in Fresno issued the sentences against Patrick Bowman and Rudy Buendia III on Monday. Bowman received 27 months behind bars. Buendia was sentenced to two years.

Merced County school officials had contracted with the men's nonprofit firm, Firm Build, to provide high school students with job training. Prosecutors say the men used the students to remove asbestos from a building under renovation in Atwater.

Bowman, Buendia and a third defendant, Joseph Cuellar, pleaded no contest last year to violating federal asbestos laws. Cuellar has not been sentenced.

U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner says the men's actions were reckless.


Information from: Merced Sun-Star,

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