SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY, CA (WCMH) — Police said the mom of six sold ceviche over a Facebook group without a permit.
“It was just like unreal that they were saying you could face up to a year in jail,” Mariza Ruelas told KTXL.
Ruelas said she joined a Facebook group that shared recipes, organized potlucks and occasionally sold what they cooked.
On December 3, of last year, Ruelas said she was contacted by someone wanting to buy a plate of her signature dish, ceviche.
According to court documents, that person was an undercover investigator. About a dozen people, including Ruelas were cited for operating a food facility and engaging in business without permits.
Ruelas, however, refused to plea down to three years probation, and now faces a trial where she could end up in jail.
Officials said any person selling food not inspected by the health department is putting other people in danger.
“Food prepared in a facility that is not inspected creates a risk to the public,” San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Kelly McDaniel told KTXL.
McDaniel also said the group had been warned before anyone was charged.
Ruelas, a single mother, said she now worries about her six kids, and each court appearance wears on them especially her youngest. “The night before he always asks like are you going to come back?”