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For Release: Friday, January 20, 2012

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Joins Forces with Westchester County DA on a Joint Pesticide Sting

Unlicensed Pesticide Applicators Charged and Arrested for Numerous Pesticide Violations

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Westchester County Department of Public Safety and the Westchester County District Attorney's Office conducted a joint sting operation this January targeting unlicensed pesticide applicators operating in Westchester County, DEC Regional Director Willie Janeway announced today.

On January 17th and 18th, undercover DEC investigators, posing as husband-wife homeowners in northern Westchester, contacted pesticide applicators advertising on Craigslist and elsewhere. They told the target businesses that they had a bed bug infestation and needed someone to exterminate as soon as possible. The target businesses arrived at the house and agreed to spray the home for bed bugs and were subsequently arrested. Six individuals were charged and a significant amount of restricted use pesticides were confiscated. All defendants are due in Somers Town Court to face charges.

"The application of toxic restricted pesticides by those who are unlicensed and untrained, creates not only a cumulative threat to the environment but, more importantly, an immediate danger to the citizens who are unwittingly exposed to them," said DEC Division of Law Enforcement Director Peter Fanelli. "DEC Division of Law Enforcement works closely with our Pesticides Management Program to insure that pest control companies operate in a safe and legal manner. I thank our partners in Westchester County government for helping us accomplish this important task," said Fanelli.

A total of 86 containers of restricted use pesticides were seized - among the pesticides seized were 16 syringes of Advion insecticide (Indoxacarb-carboxylate), 31 syringes of Optigard insecticide (Thiamethoxam1), and 8 - 1.25 lb. bottle of Tempo 1% powder (Cyfluthrin).

Charged individuals included:

  • Tony Williams of T&G Pest Control: 3 charges (possession of restricted use pesticides without certification, operating an unregistered pesticide business and failure to display decals on two sides of equipment)
  • Kenneth Molkenthin III of AAA Animal and Pest Control: 3 charges (possession of restricted use pesticides without certification, operating an unregistered pesticide business and failure to display decals on two sides of equipment)
  • Francisco DeJesus of AM Pest Control: 2 charges (possession of restricted use pesticides without certification and transportation of unregistered pesticides)
  • Hector Acevedo of AM Pest Control: 4 charges (possession of restricted use pesticides without certification, failure to display decals on two sides of equipment, operating an unregistered pesticides business and transportation of unregistered pesticides)
  • Wilfredo Ramos: 2 charges (operating an unregistered pesticide business and failure to display decals on two sides of equipment)
  • Steven Elson (was certified applicator but advertised under different company name): 1 charge (failure to display decals on two sides of equipment)

Consumer Tips

Before you hire a pesticide applicator/exterminator:

Property owners can assist DEC in enforcing pesticide laws designed to protect human health and the environment by asking businesses or individual applicators to show proof of their commercial pesticide applicator or technician certification in the form of a DEC issued photo identification card and proof of their pesticide business registration in the form of a DEC issued certificate. Consumers can also contact DEC to verify the legal status of a pesticide applicator or exterminator by calling DEC's Bureau of Pesticides Management at 845-256-3097 or by going to DEC's Pesticide Certification and Business Registration website which contains a searchable database of every commercial pesticide applicator, certified commercial pesticide technician and every registered pesticide business authorized to operate in New York State.

For more information on DEC's Pesticide Program, please visit DEC's website. To report an environmental crime, please contact DEC's 24 hour hotline at 1-800-TIPP-DEC or 1-800-847-7332.

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