Score:   1
Docket Number:   SD-CA  3:19-cr-04279
Case Name:   USA v. Vargas
  Press Releases:
Assistant U. S. Attorney Melanie K. Pierson (619) 546-7976

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – February 27, 2020

SAN DIEGO – Luis Alberto Vargas pleaded guilty in federal court today, admitting that he illegally smuggled pesticides into the U.S. from Mexico.

In his plea agreement, Vargas admitted that on September 9, 2019, he entered the United States at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry as a passenger in a black Toyota Camry.  He and the other occupants of the vehicle twice advised the primary inspector they were not bringing anything from Mexico. The primary inspector found three large suitcases in the trunk and referred the vehicle for secondary inspection.

Vargas acknowledged that the secondary inspector discovered two bottles of the Mexican pesticide Agroclor Clorpirifos Etil (1 liter each) and one 250 ml bottle of the Mexican pesticide Minartrin M Abamectina, concealed in a large suitcase in the trunk of the vehicle.  Vargas admitted that he purchased the pesticides in Culiacan, Mexico, and smuggled the pesticides into the United States.

The pesticides imported by Vargas were labeled in Spanish and did not bear any EPA registration number, as required by law for pesticides intended for use in the United States.  Pesticides with the active ingredients of those imported by Vargas are restricted use pesticides in the United States, and may be purchased and applied only by certified pesticide applicators. Vargas admitted that he holds no such certificate.  Moreover, the lawful importation of pesticides requires a Notice of Arrival to be provided to U.S. Customs pursuant to 19 CFR § 12.112.  Vargas further admitted that he provided no such Notice of Arrival for the pesticides in question.

“Laws regulating pesticides are meant to protect the public and the environment,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “We are aggressively prosecuting violators who don’t respect these important regulations.”

 “The defendant knowingly smuggled unregistered pesticides into the country violating environmental regulations established to protect human health and the environment,” said Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Scot Adair of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division in California. “Today’s guilty plea demonstrates that individuals who intentionally violate those laws will be held responsible for their crimes.”

“The smuggling and use of hazardous unregulated pesticide products is illegal and puts people's health, particularly young children, at risk,” said Cardell T. Morant, Acting Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Diego.  “HSI will continue to work with Customs and Border Protection, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and other partners to prosecute those who threaten the health and safety of our communities for their own personal gain.”

Sentencing for Vargas is set for June 5, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw.

DEFENDANT                                               Case Number 19cr4279-DMS                                 

Luis Alberto Vargas                                        Age: 29                       Bellflower, CA

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Smuggling – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 545

Maximum penalty: Twenty years’ imprisonment and $250,000 fine

AGENCY

Homeland Security Investigations; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie K. Pierson (619) 546-7976

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – September 26, 2019

SAN DIEGO – Luis Alberto Vargas of Perris was arraigned today on a felony complaint charging him with smuggling pesticides into the United States from Mexico. Vargas made his appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge F.A. Gossett.

The complaint alleges that Vargas smuggled three containers with 2.25 liters of Mexican pesticides into the United States on September 9, 2019.  According to the complaint, Vargas brought in pesticides containing the active ingredients chlorpyrifos and abamectin, chemicals which are considered to be restricted-use pesticides in the United States because they are lethal if ingested, harmful if absorbed through the skin or inhaled, and toxic to bees and other wildlife. 

In the United States, federal regulations limit the commercial sale and distribution of restricted-use pesticides to those who have received training and certification approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in mitigating the dangers of such chemicals. 

The complaint alleges that Vargas lacks the certification needed for purchase or commercial use of such pesticides.  Only pesticides registered with the EPA may be imported, sold, or distributed in the United States, and all pesticides intended for commercial use in the United States must bear their EPA registration number on their labels.  According to the complaint, the containers imported by Vargas were labeled only in Spanish and bore no EPA registration numbers.

“These types of chemicals, which are extremely dangerous to humans if ingested or inhaled, must be kept out of the hands of untrained individuals,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “Misapplication of these chemicals could cause untold harm to our citizens and the environment.”

“We allege that the defendant knowingly smuggled unregistered pesticides into the country, violating environmental regulations established to protect human health and the environment,” said Jay Green, Special Agent-in Charge of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division. “EPA and its partners worked together to apprehend the defendant and prevent this illegal product from threatening public safety.”

“The illegal importation and use of restricted pesticide products puts people's health and the environment at significant risk,” said Juan Munoz, deputy special agent in charge for HSI San Diego.  “HSI agents will continue to investigate these individuals that are involved in the illicit distribution of these dangerous products that threaten our communities.”

California Department of Toxic Substances Control Chief Investigator, Hansen Pang said, “It is notable to see State and Federal Law Enforcement work together on a no-tolerance initiative to protect the environment.”

DEFENDANT 

Luis Alberto Vargas                                        Age: 28                                   Perris, California

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Smuggling, 18 U.S.C. § 545

Maximum penalty: Twenty years in prison, fine of $250,000 

AGENCIES

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigations Division

Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations

California Department of Toxic Substances Control, Office of Investigations

*The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

Docket (0 Docs):   https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pO2WQJp7r7yoq-_EY-Cgr8VlCpzR6xaUOdVnEpZWjYo/edit#gid=0
  Last Updated: 2020-11-08 12:40:01 UTC
Description: The fiscal year of the data file obtained from the AOUSC
Format: YYYY

Description: The code of the federal judicial circuit where the case was located
Format: A2

Description: The code of the federal judicial district where the case was located
Format: A2

Description: The code of the district office where the case was located
Format: A2

Description: Docket number assigned by the district to the case
Format: A7

Description: A unique number assigned to each defendant in a case which cannot be modified by the court
Format: A3

Description: A unique number assigned to each defendant in a case which can be modified by the court
Format: A3

Description: A sequential number indicating whether a case is an original proceeding or a reopen
Format: N5

Description: Case type associated with the current defendant record
Format: A2

Description: Case type associated with a magistrate case if the current case was merged from a magistrate case
Format: A2

Description: A concatenation of district, office, docket number, case type, defendant number, and reopen sequence number
Format: A18

Description: A concatenation of district, office, docket number, case type, and reopen sequence number
Format: A15

Description: The docket number originally given to a case assigned to a magistrate judge and subsequently merged into a criminal case
Format: A7

Description: A unique number assigned to each defendant in a magistrate case
Format: A3

Description: The status of the defendant as assigned by the AOUSC
Format: A2

Description: A code indicating the fugitive status of a defendant
Format: A1

Description: The date upon which a defendant became a fugitive
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which a fugitive defendant was taken into custody
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date when a case was first docketed in the district court
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which proceedings in a case commenced on charges pending in the district court where the defendant appeared, or the date of the defendant’s felony-waiver of indictment
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: A code used to identify the nature of the proceeding
Format: N2

Description: The date when a defendant first appeared before a judicial officer in the district court where a charge was pending
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: A code indicating the event by which a defendant appeared before a judicial officer in the district court where a charge was pending
Format: A2

Description: A code indicating the type of legal counsel assigned to a defendant
Format: N2

Description: The title and section of the U.S. Code applicable to the offense committed which carried the highest severity
Format: A20

Description: A code indicating the level of offense associated with FTITLE1
Format: N2

Description: The four digit AO offense code associated with FTITLE1
Format: A4

Description: The four digit D2 offense code associated with FTITLE1
Format: A4

Description: A code indicating the severity associated with FTITLE1
Format: A3

Description: The FIPS code used to indicate the county or parish where an offense was committed
Format: A5

Description: The date of the last action taken on the record
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which judicial proceedings before the court concluded
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which the final sentence is recorded on the docket
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which the case was closed
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The total fine imposed at sentencing for all offenses of which the defendant was convicted and a fine was imposed
Format: N8

Description: A count of defendants filed including inter-district transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants filed excluding inter-district transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of original proceedings commenced
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants filed whose proceedings commenced by reopen, remand, appeal, or retrial
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants terminated including interdistrict transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants terminated excluding interdistrict transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of original proceedings terminated
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants terminated whose proceedings commenced by reopen, remand, appeal, or retrial
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants pending as of the last day of the period including long term fugitives
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants pending as of the last day of the period excluding long term fugitives
Format: N1

Description: The source from which the data were loaded into the AOUSC’s NewSTATS database
Format: A10

Description: A sequential number indicating the iteration of the defendant record
Format: N2

Description: The date the record was loaded into the AOUSC’s NewSTATS database
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: Statistical year ID label on data file obtained from the AOUSC which represents termination year
Format: YYYY

Data imported from FJC Integrated Database
Magistrate Docket Number:   SD-CA  3:19-mj-03901
Case Name:   USA v. Vargas
  Press Releases:
Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie K. Pierson (619) 546-7976

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – September 26, 2019

SAN DIEGO – Luis Alberto Vargas of Perris was arraigned today on a felony complaint charging him with smuggling pesticides into the United States from Mexico. Vargas made his appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge F.A. Gossett.

The complaint alleges that Vargas smuggled three containers with 2.25 liters of Mexican pesticides into the United States on September 9, 2019.  According to the complaint, Vargas brought in pesticides containing the active ingredients chlorpyrifos and abamectin, chemicals which are considered to be restricted-use pesticides in the United States because they are lethal if ingested, harmful if absorbed through the skin or inhaled, and toxic to bees and other wildlife. 

In the United States, federal regulations limit the commercial sale and distribution of restricted-use pesticides to those who have received training and certification approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in mitigating the dangers of such chemicals. 

The complaint alleges that Vargas lacks the certification needed for purchase or commercial use of such pesticides.  Only pesticides registered with the EPA may be imported, sold, or distributed in the United States, and all pesticides intended for commercial use in the United States must bear their EPA registration number on their labels.  According to the complaint, the containers imported by Vargas were labeled only in Spanish and bore no EPA registration numbers.

“These types of chemicals, which are extremely dangerous to humans if ingested or inhaled, must be kept out of the hands of untrained individuals,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “Misapplication of these chemicals could cause untold harm to our citizens and the environment.”

“We allege that the defendant knowingly smuggled unregistered pesticides into the country, violating environmental regulations established to protect human health and the environment,” said Jay Green, Special Agent-in Charge of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division. “EPA and its partners worked together to apprehend the defendant and prevent this illegal product from threatening public safety.”

“The illegal importation and use of restricted pesticide products puts people's health and the environment at significant risk,” said Juan Munoz, deputy special agent in charge for HSI San Diego.  “HSI agents will continue to investigate these individuals that are involved in the illicit distribution of these dangerous products that threaten our communities.”

California Department of Toxic Substances Control Chief Investigator, Hansen Pang said, “It is notable to see State and Federal Law Enforcement work together on a no-tolerance initiative to protect the environment.”

DEFENDANT 

Luis Alberto Vargas                                        Age: 28                                   Perris, California

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Smuggling, 18 U.S.C. § 545

Maximum penalty: Twenty years in prison, fine of $250,000 

AGENCIES

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigations Division

Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations

California Department of Toxic Substances Control, Office of Investigations

*The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

Docket (0 Docs):   https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1SaJQPKGzn_jyaTKqIW-c-qsVLyjQ-VZSSWZn_Ps4rHM/edit#gid=0
  Last Updated: 2020-11-08 11:05:22 UTC
Description: The fiscal year of the data file obtained from the AOUSC
Format: YYYY

Description: The code of the federal judicial circuit where the case was located
Format: A2

Description: The code of the federal judicial district where the case was located
Format: A2

Description: The code of the district office where the case was located
Format: A2

Description: Docket number assigned by the district to the case
Format: A7

Description: A unique number assigned to each defendant in a case which cannot be modified by the court
Format: A3

Description: A unique number assigned to each defendant in a case which can be modified by the court
Format: A3

Description: A sequential number indicating whether a case is an original proceeding or a reopen
Format: N5

Description: Case type associated with the current defendant record
Format: A2

Description: Case type associated with a magistrate case if the current case was merged from a magistrate case
Format: A2

Description: A concatenation of district, office, docket number, case type, defendant number, and reopen sequence number
Format: A18

Description: A concatenation of district, office, docket number, case type, and reopen sequence number
Format: A15

Description: The docket number originally given to a case assigned to a magistrate judge and subsequently merged into a criminal case
Format: A7

Description: A unique number assigned to each defendant in a magistrate case
Format: A3

Description: The status of the defendant as assigned by the AOUSC
Format: A2

Description: A code indicating the fugitive status of a defendant
Format: A1

Description: The date upon which a defendant became a fugitive
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which a fugitive defendant was taken into custody
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date when a case was first docketed in the district court
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which proceedings in a case commenced on charges pending in the district court where the defendant appeared, or the date of the defendant’s felony-waiver of indictment
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: A code used to identify the nature of the proceeding
Format: N2

Description: The date when a defendant first appeared before a judicial officer in the district court where a charge was pending
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: A code indicating the event by which a defendant appeared before a judicial officer in the district court where a charge was pending
Format: A2

Description: A code indicating the type of legal counsel assigned to a defendant
Format: N2

Description: The title and section of the U.S. Code applicable to the offense committed which carried the highest severity
Format: A20

Description: A code indicating the level of offense associated with FTITLE1
Format: N2

Description: The four digit AO offense code associated with FTITLE1
Format: A4

Description: The four digit D2 offense code associated with FTITLE1
Format: A4

Description: A code indicating the severity associated with FTITLE1
Format: A3

Description: The FIPS code used to indicate the county or parish where an offense was committed
Format: A5

Description: The date of the last action taken on the record
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which judicial proceedings before the court concluded
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which the final sentence is recorded on the docket
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which the case was closed
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The total fine imposed at sentencing for all offenses of which the defendant was convicted and a fine was imposed
Format: N8

Description: A count of defendants filed including inter-district transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants filed excluding inter-district transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of original proceedings commenced
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants filed whose proceedings commenced by reopen, remand, appeal, or retrial
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants terminated including interdistrict transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants terminated excluding interdistrict transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of original proceedings terminated
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants terminated whose proceedings commenced by reopen, remand, appeal, or retrial
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants pending as of the last day of the period including long term fugitives
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants pending as of the last day of the period excluding long term fugitives
Format: N1

Description: The source from which the data were loaded into the AOUSC’s NewSTATS database
Format: A10

Description: A sequential number indicating the iteration of the defendant record
Format: N2

Description: The date the record was loaded into the AOUSC’s NewSTATS database
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: Statistical year ID label on data file obtained from the AOUSC which represents termination year
Format: YYYY

Data imported from FJC Integrated Database
F U C K I N G P E D O S R E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E