A Texas woman who was indicted last month by a federal grand jury for allegedly selling an endangered jaguar cub has surrendered, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The cub – now under the care of the Lions, Tigers and Bears sanctuary in Alpine – was initially sold for $30,000 to a Riverside County man, who in turn re-sold it.
Trisha Denise “Mimi” Meyer, 40, of Houston (photographed below when authorities still were searching for her), was charged last month with four counts, including interstate sale of an endangered species, and trafficking of a prohibited wildlife species, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles said.
Also charged in the indictment was Abdul “Manny” Rahman, 34, of Murrieta, who faces similar charges.
The Endangered Species Act protects jaguars, and the Lacey Act prohibits wildlife trafficking.
Both defendants were scheduled to make their initial appearances in federal court in Riverside this week, prosecutors said.
According to the indictment, Meyer sold Rahman the cub in the spring of 2021. Prior to the sale, she allegedly posted photos and videos on Instagram showing herself with the cub, prosecutors said.
Meyer allegedly sold the cub and it was transported for an additional $1,000 fee from Texas to California.
Rahman kept the jaguar for one to two months before selling it for $20,000 to another buyer, identified in court documents as H.G.
According to prosecutors, H.G. was living with his pregnant wife or girlfriend. After someone expressed concern about the jaguar being in the same home as a child, H.G. decided to have the animal taken to a rescue center, prosecutors said.
The person who expressed concerns about the jaguar – identified in court documents as R.A. – later told law enforcement that he and his roommate put the jaguar in a large dog kennel and drove it to the Alpine rescue center.
They dropped off the jaguar at the facility’s entrance on Sept. 17, 2021, at around 9:50 p.m., but they were captured on security cameras and officials notified law enforcement.
If convicted of all charges, Meyers would face up to eight years in federal prison and a $700,000 fine. Rahman would face up to seven years in federal prison and a $600,000 fine.
– City News Service