Jesse J. Amaral Jr. and two employees Felix Sandoval Cabrera and Eugene Corda, were charged with 11 felony counts on August 14. In the indictment, the charges are 11 felony counts of including the distribution of adulterated and misbranded meat, mail fraud and conspiracy. Prosecutors allege that the trio knowing sold contaminated meat that was misbranded and uninspected from the by-product of cancerous cows.
According to court documents, the livestock that were infected had epithelioma of the eye, otherwise known as “cancer eye.” From mid-2012 until January 2014, the indictment alleges that Amaral ordered his employees to ignore certain procedures for the livestock that showed signs of epithelioma. Some of the symptoms were: lumps and abnormalities around the eyes.
The indictment also states that approximately 101 condemned cattle and approximately 79 cancer eye cows. As much as 9 million pounds of meat have been contaminated and reached consumers in 35 states.
Amaral pleaded not guilty during the hearing on Monday, and was released on $50,000 bail. Prosecutors claim that foreperson, Cabrera knowingly swapped uninspected cows for cattle that had already passed inspection and were awaiting slaughter. The status of Cabrera and Corda court appearance isn’t known as of yet.
A single felony charge is punishable up to three years in jail and a fine of over $250,000. The defendants face a total of 11 felony charges. If convicted, Amaral, Cabrera and Corda could face up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.