Mission restaurant owners arrested for illegal oysters

Two Mission restaurant owners were arrested by Texas game wardens last week on charges stemming from over 50 bags of oysters allegedly purchased illegally and being sold in the men’s restaurants.

On the afternoon of Sept. 27, a Texas game warden conducted a compliance check at Mariscos El 7 Mares # 2, located at 2500 E. Expressway 83 #100 in Mission, according to documents released Wednesday.

During the inspection, the warden discovered 21 unlabeled clear bags of raw oysters in a large freezer located in the kitchen. The bags had no certification number nor any labeling as required by state law.

The documents allege that 29-year-old Juan Jose Chapa Jr., the owner of the establishment, could not provide any documentation showing the origin of the oysters nor commercial fish dealer license information of the person who sold him the oysters.

Chapa admitted to buying the oysters from an individual who came to his restaurant selling aquatic product in a dark SUV and then selling them to customers of Mariscos El 7 Mares #2 in the form of cocktails, the documents read.

Chapa also informed authorities that he had delivered multiple raw oyster baggies to his father’s restaurant in Mission, Juan Jose Chapa Gonzalez’s Mariscos El 7 Mares. Wardens discovered two unlabeled clear bags of raw oysters at Marisco El 7 Mares and 32 bags of oysters in Chapa Gonzalez’s pickup.

The elder Chapa also admitted to selling the raw oysters to customers, the documents read.

Because none of the oysters were in a container bearing a valid certificate number and there was no documentation to prove their origin, the oysters were determined to have been illegally purchased from an unapproved source, violating state law.

Both men were arrested on Sept. 30 and charged with an aquatic life regulation violation, a Class A misdemeanor with a $1,000 bond.

Both Mariscos El 7 Mares locations still appear to be open for business. A representative from Mariscos El 7 Mares #2 who did not identify himself said that the restaurant was running smoothly again as of Wednesday evening.

“There was a mistake, but everything is going okay,” the man said.

Chapa Gonzalez

Monitor staff writer Francisco Jimenez contributed to this report.