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Law enforcement is on the hunt for a Texas woman accused — for the second time — of wildlife trafficking.
Trisha Denise "Mimi" Meyer, 40, was indicted Wednesday on federal charges of 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, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. The office tweeted that law enforcement agents are still looking for the Houston-dweller.
Meyer was indicted in the case with co-defendant Abdul "Manny" Rahman, 34, who has been charged with three counts: interstate transportation of an endangered species in the course of commercial activity; trafficking prohibited wildlife species; and trafficking endangered species.
The indictment and charging documents in the case, posted by Law & Crime, allege that Meyer sold Rahman a jaguar — an endangered species — for $30,000 (less than a $5,000 discount) on or around April 17, 2021 and had it shipped to him in southern California for an additional $1,000 in early May.
She called the jaguar Amador, but he renamed it Hades.
According to multiple witnesses, the alleged transaction between Meyer and Rahman began at an Austin car show attended by Rahman and several friends around April 17, 2021. Meyer — who had allegedly posted pictures of herself posing with the animal on Instagram — brought the jaguar cub to Rahman's room at the Hyatt Regency. Several of his California friends were summoned to come see it; one, a woman, took at least one video of the jaguar at that time which appears to depict Rahman and Meyer discussing the transaction.
Rahman then allegedly purchased the animal and took the delivery of it around May 4, 2021 in California, after allegedly paying Meyer the promised $26,000 through multiple wire transfers, Venmo, CashApp and Apple Pay transactions to both her and her adult children.
The female friend of Rahman's said that, in May, she repeatedly saw the cub at Rahman's house in Murrieta, California — about 80 miles southeast of Los Angeles — where she took pictures and videos of and with the cub, which she later posted to her Instagram and TikTok accounts. (Others involved in the case suggested the woman was actually Rahman's girlfriend and may have lived with him at the time that he owned the jaguar.)
On May 28, 2021, texts allegedly obtained from Rahman's phone indicated that Meyer saw some of the social media content featuring the cub.
"Posted from Maywood, California and Los Angles [sic]," she wrote under a screencap of a social media image. "No bueno trust me, get a handle on that."
"If I got word of it here. That means others are seeing that & will snitch," she added. "And they will be trying to track him down."
Witnesses in the case all say that, thereafter, Rahman tired of owning the animal, which one friend said he had a habit of doing. The $5,000 discount Meyer offered Rahman on the purchase of the jaguar was allegedly due to his previously purchasing a marmoset — a South American monkey — from her that Rahman and a friend drove to Las Vegas in 2020 to take delivery of. The primate was allegedly delivered to Rahman and his friend in a small mesh bag driven from Meyers' home in Houston, which would've taken at least 20 hours.
Rahman allegedly felt the marmoset was not a baby, which is what he'd paid for, and his friend allegedly told investigators the primate was "crazy." The friend said the two abandoned it at a pet shop in Las Vegas and returned to California, where Rahman demanded a refund from Meyer but received a credit towards a future purchase instead.
As Rahman was looking to sell the jaguar, another friend, R.A., connected him to a man referred to in court documents as H.G., who agreed to purchase the jaguar for around $17,000 and moved it to his rental home in Riverside, around 40 miles north of Murrieta.
H.G.'s friend and landlord, referred to as A.G., and his wife both played with and filmed the jaguar while H.G. owned it in the summer of 2021, and posted the pictures and videos to Instagram. Rahman's female friend said she also continued to visit the jaguar and post about it on social media once it was sold to H.G.
H.G., however, had a pregnant partner living at the house and began to express concerns about having an adult jaguar around the couple's infant. He told R.A. — who had also been visiting and playing with the jaguar cub at both homes since it had arrived in southern California — that he planned to kill the animal. R.A. convinced him to leave it at a rescue instead.
R.A. and his roommate alleged packed H.G.'s jaguar into a large dog crate on the evening of Sept. 17, 2021 and drove it to the Lions, Tigers & Bears animal rescue in Alpine, California — 130 miles south of Riverside.
The rescue, which gave investigators surveillance video of two men leaving the crate there around 9:50 p.m. on Sept. 17, was also the organization that tracked down the initial Instagram posts that kicked off the investigation — those by H.G.'s landlord, A.G., and A.G.'s wife. Jaguars have unique spot and whisker patterns that are used to identify them, allowing investigators to prove that the jaguar in all the various social media posts by players in the case is the same animal.
Bobbi Brink, the founder and director of the rescue, called the people involved in the case "idiots" when speaking to The Daily Beast in September.
The jaguar remains in the care of the sanctuary.
According to the Daily Beast, this case is not Meyer's first brush with the law. In November 2016, Houston police charged her with child endangerment after finding her teenage daughter in a home with three tigers, a cougar, a skunk and a fox allegedly roaming free. She also reportedly had several monkeys in the home, which she admitted had bitten people. Meyer claimed she had permits for the tigers and that the responding officers took selfies with them, according to Houston NBC affiliate KPRC. She was also charged with theft after a California man claimed he'd paid her for a cat that she'd never delivered.
She was arrested on the Texas changes in Pahrump, Nevada, according to a press release from the Nye County Sheriff's Office, after allegedly moving her tigers and monkeys there following the charges in Houston; the tigers were confiscated because they required Nevada permits. She eventually pleaded guilty to theft in Texas, receiving a deferred sentence, and her animals were returned to her.
Meyers could face a maximum prison sentence of eight years and a $700,000 fine if convicted of all charges in this case. Rahman could face a maximum seven-ear sentence and a $600,000 fine.
Meyer is still at large. Rahman has been summoned to appear in court on Nov. 9.
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