A former waitress at a Lenexa Mi Ranchito Mexican restaurant pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to poisoning salsa served to customers.
Yini De La Torre, 19, admitted that she added Methomyl-based pesticide to salsa on two occasions and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to tamper with a consumer product.
Diners at the restaurant became sick after eating salsa on August 11 and 30 of last year. A total of 48 people fell ill after the poisonings, suffering nausea, abdominal
cramps, weakness, sweating and discomfort.
IDe La Torre admitted in her plea that she and her husband and co-defendant, Arnoldo Bazan, wanted to get revenge on the restaurant's owner, hurting the restaurant's business by poisoning customers because because Bazan allegedly believed the restaurant's owner was responsible for costing him a job at the Olathe Mi Ranchito (where he worked until June 27, 2009) and his vehicle.
In July 2009, Mi Ranchito's owner reported Bazan to Overland Park police for allegedly stalking him.
Prosecutors allege threats against the owner were issued through Mi Ranchito's Web
site. That is, unless Bazan's vehicle was returned. Wonder how
authorities ever figured this one out?
Then on August 28, 2009, Bazan allegedly sent a threat through a family
member to the restaurant's owner that "the worst is yet to come."
Court documents indicate a possible rift between Bazan and De
La Torre. On September 8, Bazan allegedly warned De La Torre that if she spoke with police,
she would be physically
A press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office says Mi Ranchito's
business took a huge hit following the poisoning, with sales at the
Lenexa restaurant declining about $250,000 in September and October of
De La Torre's sentencing is scheduled for May 18. The charges against
De La Torre carry a max penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a
fine of up to $250,000.