illegal cheese.pngEarlier this year, a Miami couple and their company, Naver Trading Corp., were facing federal charges of importing cheese and other dairy products into the U.S. that were contaminated with Salmonella, E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus. Yuri Izurieta, 41, and Anneri Izurieta, 46, were charged with smuggling and conspiracy. Prosecutors argued that the couple knowingly sold cheese contaminated with bacteria.

On May 11, 2011, the defendants were convicted of one charge of conspiracy to smuggle goods into the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, and five counts of smuggling goods into the United States. According to the evidence produced at trial, the Izurietas operated Naver Trading, Corp., a licensed importer engaged in the importation and sale of dairy products. Over several years, the Izurietas and Naver Trading, Corp. repeatedly imported multi-ton shipments of cheese and other dairy products into the United States. Although these dairy products were released from the port into the custody of the Izurietas and Naver Trading, Corp., the defendants were not authorized to sell and distribute the dairy products pending successful completion of an examination by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but they did so anyway.

According to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida:

U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore sentenced Anneri Izurieta to 30 months in prison, to be followed by an additional 10 months imprisonment because she committed some of the smuggling while on probation from a conviction for similar offenses. Yuri Izurieta was sentenced to 27 months’ imprisonment, and Naver Trading, Corp. was sentenced to two years’ probation.