SAN DIEGO – A project manager for a firm developing properties in Otay Mesa admitted to falsifying permits that led to the illegal discharge of pollutants in connection with a project known as the International Industrial Park, prosecutors said.

Fiona Skye McKenna, 37, pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to falsifying permits by cutting and pasting permits the firm had obtained for work at another site, said Kelly Thornton with the Office of the United States Attorney Southern District of California. McKenna admitted that she forged permits allegedly issued by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to place fill dirt, rock and sand into Johnson Canyon Creek at the International Industrial Park site.

Prosecutors say McKenna obtained a grading permit after submitting the forged permits to the San Diego County Land Development Office in October 2022.

“After receiving the grading permit, the firm discharged fill dirt, rock and sand into portions of Johnson Canyon Creek, utilizing dump trucks and heavy duty powered shovels. The wetlands area of Johnson Creek flows into the Otay River, which flows into San Diego Bay,” Thornton said.

Wetlands, which serve as key links in the global water cycle, slow the momentum of flood waters or a coastal storm surge, according to the EPA. They also provide a habitat and food to a variety of plants and animals.

McKenna’s sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 19, 2024, at 9 a.m.