USDA Cites Arizona Company Sandia Distributors For Failure To Pay For Produce

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited Sandia Distributors Inc., Nogales, Ariz., for failure to pay for produce.

The company failed to remit net proceeds totaling $1,769,070 to four growers for 527 lots of produce. This is in violation of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA). As a result of these actions, Sandia Distributors Inc. cannot operate in the produce industry until Jan. 14, 2019, at which time it may reapply for a PACA license.

The company’s principal, Raul Paez, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until Jan. 14, 2018, and then only with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (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.

The PACA Division, which is part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), regulates fair trading practices of produce businesses that are operating subject to PACA including buyers, sellers, commission merchants, dealers and brokers within the fruit and vegetable industry.

In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 3,500 PACA claims involving more than $58 million. Our experts also assisted more than 8,000 callers with issues valued at approximately $140 million.

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