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Fowl Play: Texas Woman Accused of Smuggling Rare Vietnamese 'Dragon' Chicken Eggs into U.S.

Texas Woman Accused of Importing Rare Chicken Eggs
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Dong Tao chickens, also known as Dragon Chickens, are a rare breed known for their very large feet.

Jul. 3 2024, Published 1:02 p.m. ET

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A Texas woman has been taken into federal custody for allegedly smuggling rare Vietnamese chicken eggs into the United States, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas announced.

Jennifer Mayo, 46, of Aransas Pass, was indicted on May 22 and recently turned herself in to authorities, officials said.

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According to the indictment, between Aug. 1, 2023, and Sept. 15, 2023, Mayo allegedly brought Dong Tao chicken eggs into the U.S.

Dong Tao chickens, also known as Dragon Chickens, are a rare breed known for their very large feet, originating in the village Đông Tảo, near Hanoi. The breed is a delicacy in the country.

It is illegal to import poultry into the U.S. from regions where pathogenic avian influenza, also called bird flu, or Newcastle disease exist in commercial poultry populations unless specific conditions are met.

Along with the smuggling, Mayo is charged with illegal importation and transfer of merchandise.

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According to the indictment, she allegedly facilitated the transportation and concealment of Dong Tao chicken eggs and hatchlings.

The indictment includes a notice of forfeiture of the illegal chickens and eggs.

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Authorities seized the chickens and eggs during the course of their investigation. Prosecutors say the hatchlings had to be euthanized "due to their health," and the hatchlings and eggs are "being held pending further investigation and evaluation."

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

TMX contributed to this report.

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