Pesticide ring busted in New York’s Chinatown

A dozen arrests and 6,000 packages of illegal pesticides seized

A multi-agency investigation resulted in 12 arrests and the seizure of more than 6,000 packages of illegal rat and cockroach poison in New York City’s Chinatown.

A number of agencies, including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, worked together during the five-month undercover operation, during which agents purchased more than 4,600 packages of unregistered and mislabeled pesticides from vendors throughout Manhattan, according to media sources. The pesticides, apparently smuggled in from China, were often packaged to look like cookies or cough medicine.

The investigation was prompted by the hospitalization and near death of a woman who mistook a bottle of improperly labeled pesticide for her medication. The product she consumed contained almost 61 times the amount of the rodenticide brodifacoum the EPA allows for consumer use.