Motel owner pleads guilty to use of illegal pesticide

A Dyer man pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Hammond to using illegal pesticides to quell a bed bug problem at two Indiana hotels he operates.

Dipen Patel, 34, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charges of violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), court documents stated.

Between February 2014 and January 2015, Patel allegedly supplied his housekeeping staff at the Knights Inn in Michigan City and at the Super 8 Motel in Howe, Ind., with a commercial pesticide called DOOM, which he had transported in his luggage upon return from a trip to India, court documents stated.

DOOM contains Dichlorvos, a chemical nerve agent found in outdoor pesticides in India. Federal authorities say Patel’s failure disclose a pesticide containing Dichlorvos when he arrived back in the United States was a violation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Border Patrol. In a release, the U.S. Attorney’s office said the product is not registered with the EPA, which is required for use.

In February 2015, the state officials performed an inspection of both motels, documents said. Twenty-nine rooms at Knights Inn, which Patel owns, and 27 rooms at the Super 8 motel, where he is the manager, tested positive for Dichlorvos, court records stated.

Patel allegedly instructed housekeeping staff to mix DOOM with water and apply it to carpeting, bedding and mattresses to rid the rooms of bed bugs, documents said.

Local health officials condemned the rooms at both motels, and ordered Patel to replace bedding and mattresses and decontaminate all affected surfaces at his own cost, documents said.

Patel faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

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