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Nogales company's PACA license revoked

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited Tomato Specialties LLC, doing business as The Avocado Co. International in Nogales, AZ, for making false and misleading statements for a fraudulent purpose and failing to account truly and correctly.

The company made false and misleading statements for a fraudulent purpose and failed to account truly and correctly to five sellers in connection with 41 lots of tomatoes that it purchased in interstate and foreign commerce from May 2014 to April 2015.  This is in violation of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.  As a result of these actions, Tomato Specialties’ PACA license was revoked and the company cannot operate in the produce industry until Nov. 27, 2019, at which time it may reapply for a PACA license.

The company’s principals, Isaac Castro and Yvette Castro, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until Nov. 27, 2018, and then only with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond.

USDA is required to publish the finding that a business has committed willful, repeated and flagrant violations of PACA as well as impose restrictions against those principals determined to be responsibly connected to the business during the violation period.  Those individuals, including sole proprietors, partners, members, managers, officers, directors or major stockholders may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee without USDA-approval.

In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 3,400 PACA claims involving more than $58 million. Its experts also assisted more than 8,500 callers with issues valued at approximately $151 million.