Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations
March 1, 2012: Albuquerque Man Sentenced to 24 Months in Prison for Adulterating Yogurt with Semen
ALBUQUERQUE – This afternoon, a U.S. District Judge in Albuquerque sentenced Anthony Garcia, 32, of Albuquerque, to a 24-month term of imprisonment for his conviction for adulterating food with semen and making false statements to federal investigators during a criminal investigation. Garcia will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence. Garcia also was ordered to pay restitution to the victim of his criminal conduct.
Garcia was arrested on July 13, 2011, based on a two-count indictment charging him with (1) adulterating food with semen; and (2) making false statements during the course of a federal investigation. Garcia has been in federal custody since his arrest.
On October 6, 2011, Garcia entered a guilty plea to the indictment. In entering his guilty plea to Count 1 of the indictment, Garcia admitted that, on January 25, 2011, when he was employed in the dairy department of an Albuquerque grocery store, he adulterated a sample of yogurt by putting some of his semen into it. He also admitted putting some of his semen on a plastic spoon that he placed with the yogurt. Garcia then approached a female customer and offered her a sample of the yogurt. According to the plea agreement, the customer accepted the sample from Garcia, tasted it, immediately spat it, and asked to speak to the store’s manager. Garcia threw the yogurt sample into the store’s trash compactor after the customer spoke with the manager.
In pleading guilty to Count 2, Garcia admitted that he knowingly made false statements to a special agent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when he was interviewed about the adulterated yogurt on March 8, 2011 by “falsely stat[ing] that I did not know what the spoon contained, when in truth and fact I knew that the spoon had contained my semen.” Garcia also lied to an Albuquerque Police Department detective on January 25, 2011 when asked if he put semen into the yogurt.
According to court filings, the investigation of this case revealed that Garcia victimized at least four other women on different dates and times by offering them food samples that were adulterated under circumstances similar to the crime charged in this case. In imposing sentence, the Judge described Garcia’s conduct as “heinous.”
In announcing Garcia’s sentence, U.S. Attorney Gonzales said, “This conduct at issue in this case is not a joke, and it is not funny. It is criminal, and the sentence imposed on Garcia today should serve as a warning to those who deliberately adulterate food for the purpose of causing harm to innocent consumers, or as malicious pranks, or for deviant sexual gratification. My Office will continue to work with the FDA to vigorously investigate and prosecute this type of criminal conduct.”
““This sentence aptly reflects the seriousness of this crime,” said Patrick J. Holland, Special Agent in Charge of the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, Kansas City Field Office. “The FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations will continue to investigate, and bring to justice, those who adulterate food at the expense of unsuspecting consumers. We commend the United States Attorney’s Office for their commitment to this case.”
The case was investigated by the FDA and the Albuquerque Police Department, and was prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred J. Federici.
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