For one California woman, she never would have guessed that selling a meal she made on the internet could get her jail time – but that’s exactly the predicament she finds herself in now.
Mariza Reulas of Stockton, California, now faces trial and potentially jail time after joining a Facebook group and using it to sell food she prepared. San Joaquin County cited her for selling an illegal substance. That substance? A bowl of homemade ceviche.
Reulas sold her ceviche through a Facebook group she joined called 209 Food Spot – where people from all over the Stockton area shared – and occasionally sold – food they cooked.
On December 3rd, however, someone contacted Reulas, asking for a plate of her Ceviche — one of her signature dishes. That person was an undercover investigator from San Joaquin County, according to court documents, on a sting because the majority of 209 Food Spot members didn’t have permits to sell their food.
She, along with dozens others, was cited for two misdemeanors for operating a food facility and engaging in business without a permit.
Reulas refused to plea down to three years of probation. Now the single mother of six is headed to trial and could end up in jail.
“I don’t write the laws, I enforce them. And the legislature has felt that this is a crime,” said San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Kelly McDaniel. She says selling any food that hasn’t been approved by the health department puts whoever eats it in real danger. McDowell also noted that the 209 Food Spot Facebook group was sent a warning before the charges were handed down.
Reulas worries about her children when she thinks about the potential jail time she may face. Without a father in their life, Reulas says the thought of having to leave her kids scares her. Every court appearance takes a toll on her youngest son, Justice, who is six years old.
Of the people charges, Reulas is the only one whose case is headed to trial because she was the only person charged who refused to accept a plea from the district attorney.
Many thanks to Real Farmacy for the heads-up!
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