Select Page

Terminix Virgin Islands Branch Manager Pleads Guilty to Four Counts of Illegally Applying Restricted-Use Pesticide to Multiple Residences in the U.S. Virgin Islands

 

Jose Rivera, 58, former Branch Manager of TERMINIX INTERNATIONAL USVI LLC (TERMINIX USVI), pleaded guilty today to four counts of an indictment charging violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) for illegally applying fumigants containing methyl bromide in multiple residential locations in the U.S. Virgin Islands, including the condominium resort complex in St. John where a family of four fell seriously ill in 2015, after the unit below them was fumigated, the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today.

According to the plea agreement, defendant Rivera was certified as a pesticide applicator by the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources and received pesticide applicator training from the University of the Virgin Islands.  Based on his training, the defendant knew that he was required to read the pesticide label and follow all instructions when using any pesticide. In short, the defendant was instructed that federal law requires applicators to follow the pesticide use instructions on the label. The label on methyl bromide states that its use is restricted to the location and manner on the label, and the label does not authorize application of methyl bromide in a residential unit. Rivera applied methyl bromide, a registered restricted-use pesticide, in a manner inconsistent with the use instructions on the label at the residences named in the counts of conviction.

“Toxic pesticides can have devastating human health consequences, and that’s why those who are certified to apply them must do so responsibly and lawfully,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.  “The facts in this case show that the defendant, despite his training and experience, knowingly applied the pesticide methyl bromide in an illegal and unsafe manner, which tragically exposed a family of four to profoundly debilitating injuries.” Read more

Read also: Defenders prepare to support Hurricane Florence relief efforts

Terminix Virgin Islands Branch Manager Pleads Guilty to Four Counts of Illegally Applying Restricted-Use Pesticide to Multiple Residences in the U.S. Virgin Islands