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Thread: CA woman who sold food as part of community FB group facing possible jail tim

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    CA woman who sold food as part of community FB group facing possible jail tim

    California woman who sold food as part of community Facebook group facing possible jail time

    A California woman faces possible jail time for selling her homemade ceviche through a community food group on Facebook, according to a report.

    An undercover investigator caught Stockton single mom Mariza Ruelas selling the classic Latin American seafood dish by requesting a batch through the group, according to court documents obtained by KTXL-TV. Ruelas called the investigation “a waste of time and resources” in a Facebook post Friday.

    Prosecutors said she violated state law by selling food prepared in a facility not subjected to inspections. Ruelas says she was just participating in a group called “209 Food Spot” which organized potlucks, recipe-sharing and occasional small sales among the members.

    “It was just, like, unreal that they were saying that you could face up to a year in jail,” Ruelas told KTXL-TV.

    Ruelas said she refused an offer by San Joaquin County prosecutors of three years of probation if she agreed to plead guilty to one of the charges. She is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday – and expects to stand trial soon on the misdemeanor rap of operating a food facility and engaging in business without permits.

    County authorities filed the same charges against nearly a dozen other members of the group, which took its name from the area code for the Bay Area suburb. The undercover county investigator reached out to Ruelas Dec. 3 for what the court documents spelled “cevechi.”


    The prosecutor said investigators sent the Facebook group a warning before moving toward enforcing the law. Yet Ruelas wrote on Facebook that the District Attorney’s Office had not posted any warnings to the group.

    "I don't know you, but came across your news story," one user wrote to her. "This is outrageous - a warning, maybe even a small fine, sure - but jail time?"

    Ruelas said other people charged in the sting did agree to plea deals, but they were different from the one she turned down. Her proposed plea bargain carried a longer term than those of the others, as well as 80 hours of community service and a $235 fine, she said.

    She also explained the situation to a commenter who asked if she could simply buy a permit to sell food like her ceviche, which she serves with shrimp, onions, lime and an avocado over a tortilla.

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