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Raw deal: Mother facing jail time for selling a bowl of ceviche on Facebook

Photo: Deb Lindsey/The Washington Post; Getty Images

In a country overcome by rampant gun violence, institutional racism, and the specter of electing a flaming hot Cheeto as our next president, it seems justice can still be served. According to KTXL, a Stockton, California single mother of six faces potential jail time for selling a bowl of homemade ceviche over Facebook. Wait, what?

As a member of local Facebook group 209 Food Spot, Mariza Reulas shared recipes and organized potlucks with her Northern California community. 209 Food Spot also encouraged the buying and selling of dishes, with the group’s rules stating that sellers must be “in compliance with local permitting requirements.” That wasn’t always the case, say San Joaquin County officials, who set up a “sting operation” to put a stop to the practice and, presumably, notions that buying raw fish over social media is a good idea. Unless, of course, you’re using Facebook’s new in-app food delivery.


Two misdemeanors—one for operating a food facility and the other for engaging in business, both without permits—were handed out to more than a dozen people, though Reulas is the only one to refuse a plea deal, citing that it was much harsher than what the others received. Instead, she’s going to court and facing the possibility of a year behind bars, where the fish is cooked and the business dealings no less shady.

Reulas calls the sting a “waste of time and resources and taxpayers’ money.” It’s hard to disagree, especially since the sting apparently lasted more than a year.

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