Lahaina, Maui- In what is shaping up to be one of the most bizarre trials in recent history is set to begin tomorrow on the island of Maui, Hawaii. The man the media has dubbed The Avocado Terrorist will stand trial on felony charges. One Joseph De Falco is being accused of the destruction of millions of dollars of property in several different apartment complexes in the district of Lahaina, Maui.
Apparently De Falco lived in one of the complexes for over five years. During that span it is estimated De Falco planted something like 1,250-1,500 avocado pits near sprinkle systems, under hibiscus bushes, and in many other shaded areas in his complex as well as a few other complexes near by. Avocados grow extremely well in Hawaii because of the volcanic soil and tropical climate provided they are given a lot of water.
At first nothing happened, a few little trees shot up, a lot of people commented how nice it was to have avocado trees on the premise. But twenty years later there were so many avocado trees growing, they were starting to choke out the walkways. Avocados have shallow roots that stay near the surface and spread out, rupturing sidewalks and concrete. Eventually De Falco's plants started to break up the foundation of the several apartment complexes, cracking them in spots and breaking them completely in half in others.
De Falco also known locally as Avocado Joe faces up to seven years in jail and up to one hundred thousand dollars in fines. In a press conference yesterday, De Falco commented on his current situation, "Mankind has really gotten lost, especially the media," De Falco added. "People destroy a forest, and they call it development. But if a forest destroys a development they call it terrorism. Those avocado trees could feed that entire community, and then some."
De Falco initially pleaded not guilty, but after Maui county attorneys submitted evidence, which included three hand drawn maps, marking burial spots of Avocado plants as well as asterisks indicating sprinkler systems, it was recommended he change his plea.
Also evidence was gathered on an internet site where he made references to his plan, joking about what he called his Avocado Army or the AA. Calling his army "the rage against the development." His status on this popular personal internet site would often say things like: "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED," after he had planted a bunch of pits or "INSPECTION OF THE AVOCADO ARMY COMPLETE; EVERYTHING IS GOING ACCORDING TO PLAN".
"It is obvious that these acts were done intentionally," said Henry Kim prosecuting attorney. If convicted De Falco could face up to five years in prison for the crime of intentional planting Avocado trees on private property.