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Press Release

Woman arrested for smuggling rare Vietnamese chickens into United States

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 46-year-old Aransas Pass resident has been taken into federal custody for smuggling merchandise into the United States and illegal transfer of merchandise, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Jennifer Mayo turned herself in to authorities June 27. She is expected to make her initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Julie Hampton at 9:45 a.m.

According to the indictment, returned May 22, it is illegal to import poultry into the United States from regions where pathogenic avian influenza or Newcastle disease exist in commercial poultry populations unless specific conditions are met.

However, the charges allege she smuggled merchandise into the United States contrary to law. From Aug. 1, 2023, to Sept. 15, 2023, Mayo allegedly imported and brought into the United States Dong Tao Chicken eggs.

She is also charged with illegal importation and transfer of merchandise. Mayo allegedly facilitated the transportation and concealment of merchandise imported contrary to law - Dong Tao chicken eggs and hatchlings.

The indictment also includes a notice of forfeiture for the chickens and eggs.

As part of the investigation, authorities seized the chickens mentioned in the indictment. Due to their health, they had to be euthanized and are being held pending further investigation and evaluation.

If convicted, Mayo faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

Department of Agriculture conducted the investigation with the assistance of Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Marshals Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Liesel Roscher is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

Updated July 1, 2024