Texas man gets life in prison for role in meth trafficked in cauliflower boxes

DALLAS — A Dallas man who accepted a delivery of $3.7 million worth of methamphetamine concealed in boxes of cauliflower was sentenced Tuesday to life in federal prison, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Chad Meacham, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, confirmed in a prepared statement that 48-year-old Joaquin Salinas pleaded guilty in March 2022 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

According to court documents, Salinas received the shipment of nearly 545 pounds of the narcotics concealed inside boxes of cauliflower in August 2021, WFAA-TV reported.

During Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, federal agents testified that the meth was imported from Mexico and that Salinas had ties to two different street gangs connected to Mexican drug cartels, the TV station reported.

“Mr. Salinas chose to engage in this illicit activity and now can spend the rest of his life with the consequences of those actions,” Eduardo Chaves, special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas operations, stated.

“Lives were saved by keeping these drugs off the street, and DEA Dallas will continue to put the health and safety of our North Texas communities first,” Chaves added.

According to the Justice Department, one of Salinas’ codefendants, Angel Cabrera, pleaded guilty in June to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Cabrera is currently awaiting sentencing.

Meanwhile, codefendant Omar Jorge Valle Estrada pleaded not guilty to unspecified charges and is currently awaiting trial, the DOJ confirmed.

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