Prosecutor Defends Decision to Charge Stockton Woman With Selling Illegal Ceviche

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A screenshot image shows a Facebook post used to prosecute a woman for selling illegal homemade food in Stockton, California. (Credit: Tribune Media Wire)

It wasn’t your average undercover sting or your usual contraband.

San Joaquin County investigators launched the stealthy operation to infiltrate a 15,000-person ring — actually, a Facebook group — that peddled not cocaine or heroin or illegal weapons, but homemade food and recipes.

Six people were busted by the investigators, but it was the case of Mariza Ruelas, a 37-year-old mother of six, and her ceviche that gained the most notoriety. For selling 32 ounces of the citrus-marinated raw fish or seafood dish that is served cold, county prosecutors charged her with operating a food facility and business without a license.

They were misdemeanor charges, but Ruelas faced the possibility of jail time. Her defense attorney said it was an over-the-top approach that wasted taxpayer money.

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