Superpowered Rat Poison Was Being Smuggled Into Chinatown

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Photo: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Twelve people were arrested last week in New York on misdemeanor charges for selling illegal pesticides, some as much as 61 times stronger than the government allows. The sale of smuggled rat and cockroach poison was the subject of a five-month law enforcement inquiry centered in Chinatown, which began when a woman mistook one such product for medicine and ended up "losing two-thirds of her blood volume":

The investigation began with a vial of blue-green liquid. Roughly two inches tall, it came in a yellow and blue box covered with Chinese characters and, in English, the words "The cat be unemployed."

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. pointed out that the poisonous or carcinogenic products "are particularly dangerous to kids because they look and smell like cookies or other objects that would attract the human touch."

12 Held in Sale of Pest Poisons, One 60 Times as Potent as the Legal Limit [NYT]