By Greg Grisolano
NEOSHO, Mo. — The owner of a Neosho company has pleaded guilty in federal court to illegally distributing pesticides.
Tom Smith, owner of Greenleaf LLC at 13960 Palm Road in rural Neosho, also agreed to pay a $200,000 fine during a hearing Wednesday in Springfield.
Smith’s company, according to a release from the U.S. attorney’s office, was found to have distributed more than 2 million pounds of pesticides and rodenticides after removing or defacing the labeling on the packages.
The company’s actions violated the federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, which regulates the sale and distribution of those products.
Attempts to reach a spokesman for Greenleaf were unsuccessful Wednesday, and operations are no longer taking place at the Neosho site.
Greenleaf had been obtaining damaged or returned bags of the products from a Wal-Mart distribution center in Arkansas, according to a release from the office of John F. Wood, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri in Springfield.
“The large amount of pesticides involved in this criminal conduct created a significant public health hazard and a threat to the environment,” Wood said in the statement.
The release from Wood’s office also stated that Wal-Mart paid more than $2.5 million for an environmental cleanup of the Greenleaf site.
Don Ledford, a spokesman for Wood’s office, said the company was found to be dumping the damaged or returned insecticides into large bins, and selling them primarily to area farmers.
“(The pesticides) weren’t labeled, so you don’t know what you’re getting or how to use it,” he said.
The $200,000 fine is the maximum fine that can be assessed for violating the federal law. Greenleaf has until a sentencing hearing on June 23, 2009, to pay the full balance.
By Greg Grisolano
- Local News
Cherokee County hires first full-time economic development director
Cherokee County moved forward with plans to expand its focus on economic development recently by hiring its first full-time economic development director. Janet Miller, the former director of the Economic Development Center at Laredo (Texas) Community College, was tabbed for the job.
State Farm awards grant to Royal Heights educator for recycling project
Nasha Robinson, a counselor at Royal Heights Elementary School in Joplin, has received a $1,500 grant from State Farm Insurance to lead a semester-long service-learning project about recycling.
Playground in Pittsburg close to becoming reality
A $25,000 grant and several small private donations this week brought the goal of Phase 2 of an accessible playground closer to reality, organizers of the project said, but a few thousand more is needed to help close the gap on the cost of shipping.
Salvation Army: Secret Santa drops two hefty gifts
Secret Santa struck earlier than usual this year, according to Joplin Salvation Army Lt. Jamie Curry. Curry said the donation usually comes closer to Christmas.
Second plea deal struck in Joplin murder case
A second defendant has accepted a plea offer in the Jacob Wages murder case, agreeing to testify against the suspected shooter, Daniel Hartman, in exchange for a lighter sentence.
SLIDE SHOW: Snow almost over, but cold heads lower
When the snow stopped falling Friday afternoon, road-clearing crews across the Joplin area started getting an upper hand on the weather. But that could be short lived. More flurries and light freezing drizzle are forecast for tonight through Sunday morning.
Boeing deal takes flight; most area lawmakers support incentive deal for new Boeing plant
Southwest Missouri legislators almost unanimously endorsed an economic incentive package this week that is aimed at luring Boeing Co. to the state to build its 777X commercial jetliner. The bill passed the House by a vote of 127-20 on Friday, and follows Senate approval on Wednesday.
Cold places more demand on area homeless shelters
Local shelters expected increased demand on Friday, with overnight temperatures expected near zero and the lingering snow. Overnight temperatures in the teens are forecast for the rest of the weekend.
Special prosecutor named in family’s beef with police
A special prosecutor has been appointed for the misdemeanor cases of a father and son arising from a family member’s suicide in March and a resulting imbroglio with Joplin police and paramedics.
Nature center’s interim director promoted
Donna Whitehead, interim director and business manager of the Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center, has been promoted to the position of director of the center.
- More Local News Headlines
- Cherokee County hires first full-time economic development director