USDA Cites LoneStar Produce Express LLC in Texas for PACA Violations
WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has imposed sanctions on LoneStar Produce Express LLC (LoneStar), operating out of San Antonio, Texas. These sanctions include barring the business and the principal operators of the business from engaging in PACA-licensed business or other activities without approval from USDA. This company is in no connection to Lone Star Citrus.
Direct from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service:
LoneStar failed to pay $283,844 to nine sellers for produce that was purchased, received and accepted in interstate and foreign commerce from December 2017 to October 2019. This is in violation of the PACA. LoneStar cannot operate in the produce industry until October 13, 2022, and then only after they apply for and are issued a new PACA license by USDA.
The company’s principals, Leonidez Fernandez III and Eric Fernandez, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until October 13, 2021, 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.
By issuing these penalties, USDA continues to enforce the prompt and full payment for produce while protecting the rights of sellers and buyers in the marketplace.
The PACA Division, which is in the Fair Trade Practices Program in the Agricultural Marketing Service, 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 3,625 PACA claims involving more than $104 million. PACA staff also assisted more than 7,600 callers with issues valued at approximately $166 million. These are just two examples of how USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.
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