- Photo courtesy of the Southern District of Florida U.S. Attorney's Office.
A Miami husband-and-wife team learned last week that the U.S. government does not tolerate crimes against cheese. Yuri Izurieta, 41, and Anneri Izurieta, 46, were sentenced to more than two years in prison apiece for smuggling contaminated cheese into the U.S. and selling it.
The couple, convicted in May on smuggling and conspiracy charges, repeatedly imported multi-ton shipments of cheese and other dairy products into the country through their company, Naver Trading. The USDA found Salmonella, E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus in the products, and the agency instructed the company to re-export or destroy the contaminated cheese. Despite warnings, the Izurietas sold 4,890 kilograms of imported cheese known to be infected.
Yuri Izurieta was sentenced to 27 months in jail; his wife received a 30-month sentence plus 10 more months for violating probation from a previous, similar conviction.