Beekeeper accused of participating in pesticide smuggling conspiracy across multiple states, according to the US Attorney’s Office

The U.S. Department of Justice has recently announced the indictment of a California beekeeper. This individual has been charged with conspiracy for the receipt and sale of smuggled pesticides from Mexico, which were brought into the United States.

A federal grand jury has handed down a two-count indictment to Paulo Perez-Mendoza, a 44-year-old resident of Stockton, California, as announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

According to court documents, Perez was involved in recruiting an individual to smuggle illegal pesticides from Mexico into the United States between January 1, 2019, and March 18, 2024.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office stated that Perez had the prohibited pesticides in his possession with the intention of distributing them to his business, Perez Generation Honeybee Ranch in Stockton.

Between September 29, 2020, and July 12, 2022, Perez purchased large quantities of pesticides from Mexico. He bought approximately 1,000 to 1,500 liters at a time and spent around $476,700 on this prohibited product, according to the US Department of Justice.

Perez then proceeded to sell pesticides to beekeepers in various states across the United States, such as Georgia, Washington State, Oregon, and Florida.

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According to the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO), the main pesticides implicated in this plot were Taktic and Bovitraz. These pesticides contain amitraz as the active ingredient, with an emulsifiable concentration of 12.5%. It is important to note that in this particular form, the pesticide is not registered in the United States.

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Pesticides must comply with the regulations set by the EPA in order to be imported or sold in the United States. To meet these requirements, pesticides must be registered with the agency and labeled with an EPA registration number. Additionally, the label must be in English to ensure its legality.

Perez is set to be arraigned on March 29. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in federal prison and be fined up to $250,000. Additionally, the Justice Department states that if convicted of unlawful sale and distribution of pesticides, Perez could face a year in prison and a $25,000 fine.

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