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CONVICTIONS ON 35 FEDERAL VIOLATIONS IN MONTANA

Release Date: 11/21/2000
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FOR RELEASE: TUESDAY, NOV. 21, 2000
CONVICTIONS ON 35 FEDERAL VIOLATIONS IN MONTANA

Larry Johnson, part-owner of AG Wise Inc., an agricultural supply store located in the area of Kremlin, Mont., was convicted on Nov.15, in U.S. District Court in Helena on 35 counts of violating federal laws. A jury found Johnson guilty of conspiring to smuggle, smuggling and money laundering with respect to a scheme to illegally import a formulation of the herbicide “Roundup,” the sale of which is prohibited in the United States because it can cause severe and irreversible eye damage. The court ruled Johnson must forfeit $641,000. On Nov.13, several of Johnson’s co-defendants also pleaded guilty. Larry Matthews pleaded guilty to conspiracy to smuggle the prohibited herbicide known as “Roundup Export” into the United States. John Hadley pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the distribution of a pesticide that is not registered for sale in the United States. Daniel Zabel pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. All defendants in this case are scheduled to be sentenced in February. The defendants’ actions led to the illegal importation of approximately 24,000 gallons of Roundup Export into the United States between 1995 and 1998. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Customs Service, and the Internal Revenue Service with the assistance of EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Helena prosecuted the case.

R-174 ###