Elderly couple arrested after killing 30,000 fish

River illustration 
By: Ryan Lee Hall 

(Scroll down for video) A couple caused the death of at least 30,000 fish, according to officials.

An elderly couple of Ohio, has been criminally charged after allegedly dumping 55 gallons of toxic cyanide into a storm sewer, which killed tens of thousands of fish and other wildlife in the Rocky River.

Renato Montorsi, 79, and his wife Teresina, 74, of Grafton, are charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The couple owns a currencies and precious metals business, and previously operated a metal plating company that used cyanide.

"Mr. Montorsi chose to use the river behind him as his own landfill," U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach told a news conference on Wednesday. "Almost all the fish in a stretch of three miles, about 30,000, were killed," he said.

Montorsi also is accused of violating the Clean Water Act.

A huge amount of dead or dying fish and other wildlife, washed up along the East Branch of the Rocky River on April 22, or Earth Day.

Investigators said that Montorsi first tried to dispose the highly toxic cyanide at a local dumpster, but said that garbage collectors refused to handle the hazardous chemical.

Environmental regulations require that disposing of cyanide should only be done with workers licensed to handle the liquid.
Instead, Dettelbach said that Montorsi poured the cyanide down a drain, which eventually contaminated parts of the Rocky River.