|For Immediate Release
OCDA SETTLES SUIT AGAINST MARKET OWNER
FOR SELLING ILLEGAL FRUIT CARRYING
SOUTHEAST ASIAN PESTS
SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney has settled a civil suit against the owner of a Westminster market for selling illegal fruit that carried Southeast Asian pests unknown to exist in California. Vince Quoc Lu, 36, Huntington Beach, is enjoined from buying, selling, possessing, or transporting illegal fruits and is required to abide by all restrictions and laws of the California Code of Food and Agriculture. He is also ordered to pay $10,000 in civil penalties and costs of investigation.
On April 20, 2007, USDA officers conducted an inspection at Thai Son Market at 8922 Bolsa Avenue in Westminster, which is owned by Lu. During the inspection the officers found 74 pounds each of the illegal fruits sapotes and mangosteens, which were being sold for $16.99 and $17.99 per pound respectively. The fruits were quarantined and confiscated by the Orange Count Agricultural Commissioner’s Office and tested for pests. The testing revealed that the illegal fruits carried mealybugs and ants not known to exist in California and predominantly found in Southeast Asia. Foreign pests may seriously damage the natural vegetation and agriculture in California, causing irreparable environmental harm or billions of dollars in crop damage.
Deputy District Attorney Pricilla Cloud of the Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit prosecuted this case.