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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Puerto Rico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Businessman Pleads Guilty To Selling Putrid Pork Meat

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – José Suàrez, owner of Joshua Enterprises, Inc., dedicated to food salvage and distribution, pleaded guilty today to selling meat products that were unfit for human consumption, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. Suàrez is facing a possible sentence of three years in prison.

The defendant pleaded guilty to count one of the Information. According to the charging documents, from on or about April 8, 2009 through October 27, 2010, in the District of Puerto Rico, the defendant José Suàrez sold or offered for sale, meat products, specifically, pork shoulder picnics, which were adulterated and unfit for use as human food at the time of such sale or at the time the pork shoulder picnics were offered for sale.

The defendant, José Suàrez accepted for storage, 52,859 pounds of pork shoulders. The pork shoulders were received from an individual who worked for the transporter, Horizon Lines. The defendant was informed by this individual that the pork shoulders had suffered temperature abuse during transport. Subsequently, the pork shoulder picnics were offered for sale by the employee of Horizon Lines to various buyers. Suàrez was invited to also make an offer to purchase them. He did in fact purchase 52,859 pounds of pork shoulders.

On October 27, 2010, the USDA sampled two of the remaining pork shoulders in storage and determined that it was not fit for human consumption. As a result, defendant José Suàrez agreed to destroy the remaining 12,143 pounds of pork shoulders. According to available information, none of the buyers reported that consumers had become ill as a result of ingesting or eating the pork shoulders.

The case was investigated by the US Department of Agriculture and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mariana Bauzà-Almonte.

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Updated April 10, 2015