Mom Facing Ceviche-Related Jail Time Is Overreacting: DA

Mariza Ruelas' homemade dish allegedly put the public at risk
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2016 1:48 PM CST

A California DA says the single mother of six facing prosecution for selling 32 ounces of homemade ceviche is "making more of this than it is." Mariza Ruelas, 37, made headlines Monday when she claimed to be facing a year in jail for a Facebook-based hobby. Ruelas and five others were busted when San Joaquin County investigators posed as members of the suspects' Facebook group, where they traded recipes and sometimes sold dishes to each other. One undercover investigator asked to buy some of Ruelas' homemade ceviche, and she was promptly charged with operating a food facility and business without a license. Ruelas says she never thought of it as a business.

After widespread public outrage, San Joaquin chief deputy DA Sherri Adams shared her side of things with the Los Angeles Times. She argues it's about protecting the public and isn't a waste of taxpayer money to go after Ruelas. "If one person gets salmonella or E. coli and they die, then we’d be the first person they’d contact to say, ‘Why didn’t we do anything about this?’" Adams says. Adams also denies Ruelas is facing any sort of major time in jail. She's been offered a plea deal of 80 hours of community service, three years of probation, and a $253 fine. Even if Ruelas refuses the deal and is found guilty, Adams says she faces 10 days in jail at most. (Read more California stories.)

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