Guam – In Saipan’s District Court, Yu Qiong Zheng has entered a guilty plea to distributing unregistered pesticides.
Zheng is a farmer from Saipan. She admitted to knowingly transporting several hundred packets of an unregistered pesticide called Buprophezin from China to Saipan in October of 2008. Visiting Judge Philip Pro sentenced her to two years of probation.
As a condition of her probation, Zheng must meet with immigration officials to determine she should be deported.
Because they are toxic, pesticides that are to be sold and distributed in the United States and its territories are subject to rigorous testing and registration designed to ensure their safe use.
A release quotes EPA Special Agent Nick Torres as saying “Those who distribute unregistered, foreign pesticides in the United States and its territories place themselves, others, and the environment in danger and they will be vigorously prosecuted.”
And U.S. Attorney Alicia Limtiaco stated, “It is critical that businesses register pesticide products with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and as required by law. Without the required registrations, our community will not have critical information about the potential effects of these pesticide products, which can pose serious public health and environmental risks. Registered pesticide products have been tested thoroughly, and their labels have been examined to ensure the adequacy and clarity of the instructions and safety warnings to consumers.”
The illegal importation of pesticides is of great concern to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Divisions of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and we would like the community to be aware that all pesticide products imported into the CNMI must have labels in the English language and a United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) registration and establishment numbers.
” I hope this case serves notice to all that smuggling of illegal pesticides violates local and federal laws and as such, both jurisdictional resources will be tapped to enforce”, said Frank Rabauliman, DEQ Director. “I commend the men and women at the Division of Customs and Quarantine for identifying and confiscating the illegal pesticides, the DEQ staff and all the federal enforcement agencies for their diligent work in pursuing this case to court.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division conducted the investigation, with the assistance of the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, Federal Aviation Administration, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Divisions of Environmental Quality, Customs, and Quarantine Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Beverly McCallum and Kirk Schuler prosecuted the case.