Washington Dept. of Agriculture says no one has been charged for violating apple quarantine

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — Can you be charged for breaking Washington state’s apple quarantine?

Technically, yes. But, the Washington State Department of Agriculture said no one has ever been charged.

The topic has come to the attention of many after Governor Jay Inslee broke the quarantine and brought maggot-infested apples from Thurston County to three different cities in Eastern Washington.

RELATED: Apples Inslee brought to Eastern Washington test positive for maggot larvae

Apple maggot is a pest that threatens the crop, as well as many other fruits. According to the WSDA, it is spread through the transport of homegrown fruit and municipal waste into pest-free areas of the state.

The majority of Western Washington is in the quarantine zone, while the majority of Eastern Washington is not.

Violating the apple quarantine is considered a misdemeanor, meaning it is punishable by a $1,000 and/or up to 90 days in jail. However, the WSDA said they instead prefer to educate those found in violation.

“Violation is technically a misdemeanor, but to my knowledge we have never pursued charges against someone for violation of the quarantine,” said Hector Castro, Communications Director for the WSDA, in an email to 4 News Now. “Our practice is to educate them and inform them of the quarantine. In most cases, that is enough.”

RELATED: Gov. Inslee breaks law by bringing apples to Whitman County

READ: Recent windstorms, wildfires reduce Washington’s apple crop