Four people were indicted in Chicago today on charges they illegally distributed 100,000 pounds of cheese contaminated with salmonella, e.coli and other bacteria. Authorities say they even “washed” cheese that was returned by customers by scraping off mold and fungus, then resold it.
One of those indicted, Guadalupe Zurita, lives in Mexico and operated an Illinois corporation in 2007, and his brother and employee, Baldemar Zurita, was also indicted.. Another, Miguel Leal, produced cheese at a plant in Wisconsin, and Cynthia Gutierrez, of Cicero, worked at an Elmhurst facility.
They are charged with “conspiracy to violate the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by introducing adulterated cheese into interstate commerce; and three counts of violating the food safety law.” The four allegedly lied to an FDA inspector and sent falsified documents to the FDA.
The cheese was sold under the brand name Queso Cincho De Guerrero in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Georgia and Texas. A recall was issued in September 2007 for the dry, hard Mexican cheese sold in 35- and 40-pound wheels. There is no evidence that any customers had been made ill by the cheese.
Roger Crawford, 42, was busted after stealing a cheeseburger, Four Loko drink, Red Bull drink and condoms from a convenience store, according to a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office report, WFTS ABC Action News-28 in Tampa.
A deputy, who happened to have walked into the store, had noticed Crawford outside with an orange can under his shirt. Employees told the deputy about the theft.
Crawford was then tracked and found hiding behind a shed with the orange Four Loko can nearby. The cheeseburger, still warm, was found near the path where Crawford ran.
During a vice operation late Friday evening, a Florida detective was trolling for hookers when he pulled up to a 47-year-old suspect and “asked if she wanted a ride.” The woman accepted the offer, got in the undercover vehicle, and “engaged in a conversation about sex,” according to a police report.
The cop explained that he was looking “to F***,” and asked the woman “if she wanted to help me out with that.” The woman, the detective reported, replied that the pair “could go have sexual intercourse if I bought her two double cheese burgers off the dollar menu at McDonald’s.” The cop added, “I agreed to the deal and purchased the hamburgers for $2.75.”
In addition to the cheeseburgers, the woman told the undercover that he could also give her a tip. In response, the cop handed over $60. The woman kept $40, took the McDonald’s grub, and directed the cop to a vacant Bradenton parking lot “to park in to complete the deal.”
At this point, Christine Baker was arrested by a takedown team. Booked on a misdemeanor prostitution charge, she is scheduled for a May 1 court appearance.