[NAFEX] Felony conviction report, smuggling in plant material.

Jwlehman at aol.com Jwlehman at aol.com
Fri Apr 28 10:05:51 EDT 2006


>From timt to time importing plant material into the US has been discussed on 
this net. The May & June issue of Fruit Gradener, publication of the 
California Rare Fruit Growers has the following article taken from the CalTrade Report. 
  

San Francisco, 11/02/05 - 
The very first felony conviction and imprisonment under the Plant Protection 
Act of 2000 occurred recently in San Francisco. 
The conviction was a result of a year-long investigation by U.S. Customs and 
Border Protection (CBP) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture 
into a man accused of smuggling 450 citrus cuttings into the U.S. 
Nagatoshi Morimoto pleaded guilty to one felony count of smuggling citrus 
cuttings from Japan into the country. 
Morimoto was apprehended in April of last year when CBP Officers intercepted 
three express mail shipments from Japan that were labeled as "candy and 
chocolates," but which contained the citrus cuttings. 
One of the shipments tested positive for citrus canker - a plant disease 
caused by a bacterial pathogen that affects a variety of citrus species and can 
render fruit unmarketable, and cause infected fruit to drop from trees before 
reaching maturity. 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has stated that citrus canker may be one 
of the most devastating agriculture pests and diseases that threaten citrus 
crops. 
Previous outbreaks of the disease in Florida and other Gulf Coast states were 
resolved by eradication programs that required the removal of infected trees. 
To date, Florida alone has spent $20 million on eradication and compensation 
for lost trees. 
According to the University of California Davis Agricultural Issues Center, 
the potential economic impact from a citrus canker outbreak in California has 
been estimated to be between $173 and $890 million. 
Morimoto was sentenced to one month in prison, a $5,000 fine and community 
service that requires him to distribute brochures both in Japan and the U.S. 
that warn farmers about the virus and the consequences of illegally shipping 
citrus cuttings to the U.S. 
- The CalTrade Report 
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