LOS ANGELES - A Texas woman accused of illegally selling a jaguar cub for $30,000 to a Riverside County man who ended up re-selling the cub which was ultimately abandoned was indicted Tuesday.
According to the Department of Justice, 40-year-old Trisha Denise Meyer of Houston is charged in a four-count indictment with interstate transportation of an endangered species in the course of commercial activity, interstate sale of an endangered species, trafficking prohibited wildlife species, and trafficking endangered species.
The Riverside County man, identified as 34-year-ld Abdul "Manny" Rahman of Murrieta, is charged with interstate transportation of an endangered species in the course of commercial activity, trafficking prohibited wildlife species, and trafficking endangered species.
According to the indictment, Meyer sold Rahman the cub in 2021 for $30,000. The cub was then transported – for an additional $1,000 fee – from Texas to California.
Officials said Rahman owned the jaguar for around two months before selling it for $20,000 to another buyer, identified in court documents as "H.G." This individual lived in a house with a pregnant wife or girlfriend and later decided to allow the animal to be taken to a rescue center after someone expressed concerns about having a juvenile jaguar and a newborn infant in the same house, the affidavit states.
The person who expressed concerns about the jaguar – identified in court documents as "R.A." – later told law enforcement that he and his roommate put the jaguar in a large dog kennel and drove it to an animal rescue center in Alpine. They dropped off the jaguar at the facility’s entrance on September 17, 2021, at which time law enforcement was notified.
If convicted of all charges, Meyers faces a maximum sentence of eight years in federal prison and a $700,000 fine. Rahman would face a maximum of seven years in federal prison and a $600,000 fine.
The jaguar remains at the animal sanctuary in Alpine.
Jaguars are protected under the Endangered Species Act, as well as the Lacey Act, which prohibits wildlife trafficking.