Exterminator is charged with using banned pesticides
Brazilian national pleads not guilty
A Brazilian national who ran an extermination company in Everett was arrested early yesterday by federal authorities on charges of using chemicals banned indoors and operating without certification.
Several hours after his arrest, Josimar Ferreira was arraigned by US Magistrate Jennifer C. Boal on charges that he violated federal law by using malathion and carbaryl, agricultural pesticides banned for indoor use, in jobs to eradicate beg bugs in Quincy, Somerville, Malden, and Everett.
In one case, according to an affidavit filed in Federal Court in South Boston, Ferreira sprayed several units inside a red-brick apartment complex at 41 Mullin Ave. late last year. The tenants were unaware of the scheduled spraying set up by their landlord, and, in at least one case, a resident chose to stay with relatives after complaining that the chemicals sprayed were overpowering.
Jasmine Holden, 24, who lived at 41 Mullin Ave., said that Ferreira’s company sprayed harsh chemicals all over her apartment, including on her 8-month-old daughter’s crib.
“He did a terrible job, tore up my apartment spraying, and virtually left it uninhabitable for several days,’’ said Holden, who contacted the state’s Agricultural Department in December to complain about Ferreira’s firm.
“My daughter was crawling on her hands and knees, so she could have gotten very sick from those chemicals,’’ Holden said. “I had to have a cleaning company come in to wipe the place down from top to bottom. And after everything that happened, the bed bugs still existed.’’
Holden said she moved out two weeks ago.
Stellio Sennis, the attorney representing Ferreira, entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf.
Ferreira was ordered released on personal recognizance but was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. According to the affidavit, Ferreira entered the United States in 1996 on a tourist visa, which expired months later. Ferreira has been living in Everett for about five years, near his business, TVF Pest Control, on Main Street, and has been married for 14 years. His wife and 9-year-old daughter live with him.
The maximum penalty for violating the EPA regulation is a year in jail, a $25,000 fine, or both, but prosecutors say they will probably not seek jail time for Ferreira. Deportation is also a possibility.
Ferreira also allegedly maintained pest control businesses in New York and New Jersey, according to the affidavit. An anonymous complaint led the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to visit his offices in December.
Ferreira was not there, but the department cited him and an associate as unlicensed pesticide applicators.
In New York in April, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation — acting on a tip by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, which was conducting its own investigation — cited Ferreira for operating an unlicensed pesticide business.
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources initially received an anonymous complaint about TVF in August 2009, and an investigation was launched, revealing that Ferreira had repeatedly failed the certification test for exterminators.
Brian Ballou can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.