Fugitive zookeeper Mimi Erotic surrenders to authorities after five weeks on the run

Trisha Denise Meyer turned herself in Tuesday, was issued bond - and then re-arrested on a different warrant

Sheila Flynn
Tuesday 08 November 2022 23:35 GMT
A jaguar cub that was allegedly sold for $30,000 by Trisha Denise Meyer, 40, of Houston
A jaguar cub that was allegedly sold for $30,000 by Trisha Denise Meyer, 40, of Houston (Compilation/U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California)

A fugitive animal dealer who fled justice last month has surrendered in California after almost five weeks on the run, according to authorities.

Trisha Denise Meyer, 40, turned herself in on Tuesday to face federal charges for transporting and selling a jaguar cub between Texas and California, a spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office told The Independent.

Meyer, infamous for labelling herself “Mimi Exotic” and “Mimi Erotic,” appeared later Tuesday before US Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym at United States District Court in Riverside, California. The Houston woman pleaded not guilty to federal charges and a trial date was set for 3 January 2023; the judge ordered Meyer released on $15,000 bond.

Before she could leave the courtroom, however, Meyer was arrested again by the US Marshals Service on a bench warrant out of Texas.

She was charged last month in connection with a plan she allegedly hatched with a California man to sell him an endangered jaguar cub named Amador for $30,000. She brought the animal from Texas to California, where buyer Abdul Rahman took custody of Amador before changing his mind and selling the cub on yet again.

Authorities became aware of the exchanges after the jaguar was abandoned at a Southern California wildlife sanctuary called Lions, Tigers and Bears. Upon further investigation, they found pictures on social media of the jaguar and traced its origin to Meyer.

She was charged on 5 October 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. Rahman was also charged.

The charges stem from violations of the Endangered Species Act, under which jaguars are protected, and the Lacey Act, which prohibits wildlife trafficking, according to the Department of Justice.

Meyer, however, vanished until Tuesday, when she surrendered to federal authorities. It was neither the busty blonde’s first scuffle with the law nor her first time on the run.

In 2016, authorities discovered tigers, a skunk, a fox and several monkeys wandering through her Houston home – where she also homeschooled her minor children.

Officers had arrived to investigate claims that Meyer had scammed a California man trying to buy an exotic Savannah kitten; he wired $3,000 to an account in her daughter’s name, but the cat never materialised.

So a Texas game warden and officer with the Houston Police Department visited the Meyer residence to question her – only to find a menagerie roaming free that included a large male tiger, which Meyer admitted she only locked up when leaving the house.

Facing charges, Meyer fled to Las Vegas, then about an hour west to Pahrump in Nye County, Nevada – where she was eventually located and her tigers confiscated, according to Chron.com.

Meyer was initially charged with child endangerment, but the count was dropped, and in 2017 pleaded guilty to a theft charge with two years deferred adjudication, according to KSAT.

“It’s been a nightmare for my kids and I because I’ve been portrayed in the media as having had a mountain lion in the house, tigers in the house, foxes, skunks all loose together, which has never happened,” Meyer told reporters after entering her plea. “It’s just been a nightmare trying to prove my innocence.”

She may have protested her “innocence,” but there are a string of other online victims who would beg to differ. After her plea in 2017, it appears she got right up to her old tricks again.

One social media user, Randall Spring, posted online about buying a monkey from Meyer for $6,500 – only for it to die two hours into the drive home, with Meyer advising him to throw the poor animal’s body in a dumpster.

Another, using the name Adrian Rodriguez1212, posted on complaintsboard.com that he’d purchased a wolf from Meyer in June 2020.

He wrote: “4 days later, the pup died. It took me hiring a private investigator to get to this page.”

Two months after that, another user posted on the same complaints forum that she and her boyfriend had flown to Houston to purchase a bengal cat from Meyer, whose Instagram page she’d found “through a celebrity hairstylists page she sold two monkeys to.”

When Meyer arrived, “the cat was in a blacked out bag and she wasn’t letting me hold or touch him,” the user, going by the name Mina Blair, wrote. She handed over $6,500 in cash to Meyer, who then left.

Her defence attorney did not immediately return a call from The Independent; a person who answered the phones at his office said he was in court.

“The cat started growling and not sounding like a cat at all,” the user wrote. “He was so violent inside the bag, I told my boyfriend just set him down in the room and let him relax.

“After about 30 minutes, I told my boyfriend he cant be in there all night he needs to bond with us. Open up a can of the chicken she gave us she said he eats, and unzip the blacked out carrier and let him come out on his own.

“Ten minutes later he was out and about and being very weird. He looked/walked like a wild animal and not the way she described in person at all. So, being curious as to what we have on our hands, my boyfriend who’s owned exotic pets since childhood did some research.

“While he googled, I went digging through her Instagram for the first time that day. She posted the animal stating it was from a zoo and a geoffrey leopard. We had a full grown leopard in our hotel room.”

The user said the leopard attacked her so she hid in the bathroom; it took up to an hour for her boyfriend to wrangle the cat back into the bag as he sustained “a lot of bites and scratches.”

Meyer took the animal back but said she’d already spent the money, according to poster Blair, promising to provide a substitute animal – then blocked her.

It’s impossible to know just how many people Meyer may have scammed given her changing names, states and appearances – and particularly because many of her “victims” may be looking for illegal deals themselves.

By March 2021, she diversified to other sources of income, if her Instagram is to be believed; she announced there and on Twitter that she’d started an OnlyFans account.

The following month, she embarked upon a transaction that would ultimately make her a fugitive today.

She agreed to sell a jaguar cub for $30,000 to a man named Abdul Rahman in California, transporting the endangered animal from Texas to the Golden State for an additional fee, according to court documents. He’d become interested in buying the jaguar after taking pictures with it in a hotel room in Austin during a car show.

“Rahman did not know how to take care of the jaguar and ... quickly became dissatisfied and wanted to get rid of the jaguar by selling it to someone else but was concerned that he would lose money in the transaction,” according to affidavits.

He did sell the growing cub on, though – at a loss – but that man’s live-in girlfriend was pregnant, and they became concerned (unsurprisingly) at having a jaguar in the house with a newborn.

A friend eventually convinced the new owners to let him drop the animal off at a sanctuary called Lions, Tigers and Bears, where the jaguar was left in a cage after hours.

Investigators, through the jaguar’s markings, social media and good, old-fashioned legwork, eventually traced the abandoned animal to Meyer.

After she absconded, her original OnlyFans vanished, as did her @mimisexoticworld and @mimiseroticworld instagram accounts.

Her activities and whereabouts for the last five weeks remain a mystery; authorities have not released any details.

Some who’ve crossed her path in the past, however, will likely be bolstered by the news of Meyer’s surrender.

“It was really just a matter of time,” says a former landlord whose house was destroyed by Meyer - and the 104 dogs she somehow amassed.

”She will eventually get what she deserves,” he told The Independent on Tuesday.

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