SACRAMENTO, Calif. -

California authorities have arrested five people who allegedly bought bottles and cans from recycling centers in Nevada and then redeemed them for cash in California.

The California Department of Justice said on Thursday that the suspects were charged with conspiracy, grand theft, and recycling fraud as part of the scheme valued at more than $300,000.

Authorities say the five Nevada residents turned in large amounts of aluminum and plastic containers at recycling centers in Sacramento and the San Joaquin Valley.

California charges a fee on the sale of soft drinks and beer to encourage recycling and reduce littering. The money goes into a state fund unless consumers redeem their beverage containers to get the fee back. Nevada does not charge such a fee.

The state estimates that redemption of out-of-state containers costs California up to $50 million annually.