Woman faces 20 years in prison for smuggling Vietnamese dragon chicken eggs into US

By Minh Nga   July 2, 2024 | 06:46 pm PT
Woman faces 20 years in prison for smuggling Vietnamese dragon chicken eggs into US
Dong Tao chickens at a farm in Hung Yen Province in northern Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress
A woman in Texas is under investigation for smuggling Dong Tao chicken eggs, a rare Vietnamese species, into the U.S. and later concealing the hatchlings.

Jennifer Mayo, a 46-year-old resident of Aransas Pass City, turned herself in to authorities on June 27, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced in a press release on Monday.

She is facing the charge of "smuggling merchandise into the U.S. and illegal transfer of merchandise."

According to current regulations, it is illegal to import poultry into the U.S. from regions where pathogenic avian influenza or virulent Newcastle disease exists in commercial poultry populations unless specific conditions are met.

However, the charges said Mayo allegedly imported and brought into the U.S. Dong Tao chicken eggs from Aug. 1 to Sept. 15 last year.

The press release did not mention where the eggs were purchased, or how she brought them into the U.S.

She is also charged with illegal importation and transfer of merchandise as she allegedly facilitated the transportation and concealment of Dong Tao chicken eggs and hatchlings.

Authorities seized the hatchlings and, due to their health, they had to be euthanized.

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

Dong Tao chicken have become a delicacy in Vietnam thanks to their scaly large feet, meat with crunchy texture and fragrant aroma. The chicken can grow to 6 kg (13 pounds) each and sells for VND5-10 million, up to 50 times the price of a normal chicken.

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