Beekeeper charged for pesticide smuggling conspiracy in Georgia, 3 other states, USAO says

GEORGIA — The U.S. Department of Justice announced a California beekeeper was indicted for conspiracy to receive and sell smuggled pesticides from Mexico through the United States.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement that Paulo Perez-Mendoza, 44 of Stockton, Cali., was given a two-indictment by a federal grand jury.

Court documents showed between Jan. 1, 2019, and March 18, 2024, Perez recruited someone to smuggle illegal pesticides from Mexico into the U.S.

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Doing so, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Perez had the pesticides, which were banned in the country, to deliver them to his residential business, Perez Generation Honeybee Ranch in Stockton.

From Sept. 29, 2020, to July 12, 2022, Perez bought 1,000 to 1,500 liters of pesticides at a time from Mexico and paid about $476,700 for the “banned product,” USDOJ said.

Then, Perez resold pesticides to beekeepers in the United States, including Georgia, Washington State, Oregon, and Florida.


“The pesticides involved in this conspiracy were primarily Taktic and Bovitraz, which contain the active ingredient amitraz at an emulsifiable concentration of 12.5%, which, in this form, is an unregistered pesticide in the United States,” USAO said.

The EPA requires pesticides to be registered with the agency if they are being imported to or sold within the U.S., and they must have an EPA registration number on their labels with a label in English to be counted as a legal product.

Perez is scheduled for arraignment on March 29 and if convicted faces up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. He also faces a maximum penalty of a year in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted of unlawful sale and distribution of pesticides, according to the Justice Department.

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