Australia / NZ

Australian Woman Pleads Guilty to Importing Plants Known to Carry Xylella

Sep. 4, 2019
By Daniel Dawson

Recent News

The chair­woman of the Australian Garlic Industry Association has pleaded guilty to ille­gally import­ing plant mate­r­ial, which may have been infected with Xylella fas­tidiosa, ABC News reported.

Letitia Anne Ware imported more than 2,000 garlic bul­bils from Canada and the United States to Tasmania. The court was told the vari­eties of garlic that Ware had imported were a known car­rier of the deadly plant pathogen.

Xylella fas­tidiosa has been named the country’s number one plant pest threat by the Australian gov­ern­men­t’s Department of Agriculture.

“Xylella fas­tidiosa is the last thing anyone wants coming into the coun­try,” Thomas Jones, the pros­e­cu­tor in the case, said.

He also told the court that Ware had imported the bul­bils in boxes that were inten­tion­ally mis­la­beled as “office sup­plies” in order to evade detec­tion at cus­toms. Ware pleaded guilty to ten charges and awaits sen­tenc­ing.


While hand­ing out his guilty deci­sion, Justice Gregory Geason said Ware had put Tasmania’s entire agri­cul­tural sector at “great risk” and a “harsh penalty” would be required to deter sim­i­lar behav­ior in the future.

“The fact that they weren’t dis­eased is just good luck,” he said.