Trial Date for Mom Busted for Selling Ceviche in Facebook Group Set

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STOCKTON -- Mariza Ruelas did not expect to face misdemeanor charges, let alone a trial, for selling homemade ceviche.

"I was hoping that we would have resolved it today,” she said.

On Wednesday, she was in disbelief -- frustrated at the system with a trial date set for December.

"From day one, honestly I felt that none of us, all the other ladies as well none of them, should have a misdemeanor on their record,” Ruelas said.

Last week, the single mother of six told FOX40 the county cracked down on her and about a dozen others who sold food on the Facebook page 209 Food Spot. The District Attorney’s office said they did not have the proper permits to sell food,

"Please stop this. You’re going to hurt somebody,” Robert Himelblau, supervising district attorney, said of people selling food without permits.

The DA said what Ruelas did was unlawful and dangerous. Vendors selling food within the county are subject to inspections and must apply for the proper permits which they say Ruelas did not.

“When money becomes involved and there’s a business, there’s a different set of rules,” Himelblau said.

The DA’s office added, Ruelas continued to sell homemade dishes after she was cited in December of last year. The second count she faces stems from a July incident. If convicted she could be face up to 80 hours of community service. However, the district attorney’s office said she will not be facing jail time.

The single mother of six added, she is very careful with how she prepares food.

"Community service is fine, a small fine and a warning but having that on your record for your first offense, it shouldn’t go that far,” she told us.

While the district attorneys office said they’re just enforcing the laws.

"It would be a horrible tragedy for someone to become violently ill or worse die,” Himelblau said.

Ruelas's trial is set for Dec. 2. The DA’s office added they did not waste resources on pursuing this case because they have a dedicated unit that works to crack down on illegal selling of food and other quality of life issues.

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