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For release on August 31, 2023
Deputy District Attorney
Environmental Protection Unit
Two San Jose Women Charged with Importing Dangerous Fruit into County
Two San Jose women have been charged with felonies after they illegally imported tropical fruit, some of which was badly infested with fruit flies.
This is the first felony prosecution by the District Attorney’s Office of illegally importing fruit in violation of the Food and Agriculture Code.
Hanh Hong Huynh, 42, and Thanh Tuyen Huynh, 36, – unrelated to each other – are charged with conspiracy to import and sell fruit in violation of federal and state agricultural laws. Hanh Huynh was arraigned on August 4, 2023, and Thanh Huynh is expected to be arraigned on September 8, in department 23 in the Hall of Justice in San Jose.
District Attorney Jeff Rosen said: “This is serious and reckless behavior. If they spread, these flies can destroy crops. This County’s farms and everybody’s food prices are at stake.”
Produce imported from outside of the United States must first be inspected by agricultural officials because it may be infested with invasive foreign pests like fruit flies.
The crimes occurred in 2022, when the defendants arranged for fruit to be shipped from Vietnam, and misidentified it as dried fish, coffee, or tea to avoid inspection. In May 2022, local officials told Thanh Tuyen Huynh to stop selling illegal fruit, such as langsat, which is a tropical fruit with the shape of a large grape. Yet, she continued to advertise on social media and sell the fruit, some of which was seized, tested, and found to be heavily infested with the larvae of a destructive fruit fly endemic to Southeast Asia.
Also in May 2022, Hanh sent a relative to a shipping facility in Alameda County to pick up approximately 200 pounds of langsat. The shipment was addressed to her business, Tracy’s Gift Shop, located in East San Jose. The manifest and packaging inside stated that it was dried fish, coffee, and tea. Officials warned Hanh’s relative that the importation violated the law and the langsat was destroyed.
Anyone with information about the unlawful importation or sale of produce in California may contact the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.