By: Susanne Rust
PLACERVILLE, CA - Despite notices from the state and at least $100,000 in fines so far, a small team of outlaw miners is continuing to illegally excavate an abandoned gold mine near Placerville in El Dorado County.
"Not only did they not adhere to the original violations cited against them," said Stephen Testa, executive officer of the State Mining and Geology Board, "but they have expanded their operations."
The team includes Joseph and Yvette Hardesty of Elk Grove. The couple owns a company called Hardesty Sand and Gravel.
It also includes Richard Churches. Information about Churches was not readily available.
The Hardestys did not return calls for comment, and Churches could not be located.
According to Testa, the team has returned certified letters and notices of violation to the state unopened and ignored fines levied by the State Mining and Geology Board. And the mining at Big Cut Mine continues.