This is kind of a add on article to the one I posted Friday.Typically we think of uneducated consumers trying to “smuggle” a citrus plant back from their Florida vacation as the culprit in spreading diseases such as citrus greening or citrus canker. But I recently uncovered a story from November 23, 2009 that shows how a mother and son who own a family nursery were caught and arrested for knowingly trying to sell diseased citrus!
Courtesy of Nursery Management and Production online Magazine
“Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson announced the arrest of a Lake County man and woman for allegedly violating state statutes involving the movement of citrus products from a quarantined location.
Charged with knowingly trying to sell infected plants and improper use of a nursery tag were Gary A. Mahon, 31, and his mother, Shelby A.Mahon, 61. The family owns John’s Citrus Trees nursery in Clermont.
The arrests follow an incident in early October,when a rental truck containing citrus trees in which Gary Mahon was traveling in was inspected and detained at the Florida Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Interdiction Station in Suwannee County. Investigators determined that the nursery permit number had been falsified and suspected that the trees had come from an unregistered nursery.
Inspectors from the department’s Division of Plant Industry (DPI) were called to the scene and conducted an inspection of the citrus plants contained within the rental truck and determined that some of the trees were infected with citrus canker.
The truck was sealed, and the driver was ordered to return the trees to the nursery from which they came.
An ensuing investigation by Bronson’s Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement and DPI determined that the more than 500 trees that were intercepted by authorities allegedly came from the family’s Clermont nursery, which is currently under quarantine due to a citrus canker outbreak.
Following the arrests, the suspects were booked into the Lake County Jail on $2,000 bond.”
I know this makes it hard to know who you can trust. It kind of shows that some people are just not worried about what shape their plants are in, just as long as they make a buck. Do your research, find out if the plants are from a reputable nursery, if you are not sure ASK! The honest ones will have no problem telling you.