Dallas Man Sentenced to Life Over Meth Concealed in Cauliflower

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 2:11 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2022 at 6:54 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (NEWS RELEASE) - A Dallas man who accepted a delivery of $3.7 million worth of methamphetamine concealed in boxes of cauliflower was sentenced today to life in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham.

Joaquin Salinas, 48, pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn.

“Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug that affects tens of thousands of lives every year,” said Eduardo A. Chavez, Special Agent in Charge of DEA Dallas. “Mr. Salinas chose to engage in this illicit activity and now can spend the rest of his life with the consequences of those actions. 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.”

According to plea papers, on Aug. 29, 2021, Mr. Salinas received a shipment of approximately 247 kilograms of methamphetamine concealed inside boxes of cauliflower. Agents put the street value of the methamphetamine at approximately $3.7 million:

At Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, agents testified that their investigation revealed the methamphetamine was imported from Mexico. Further testimony revealed that the defendant had ties to the Sureños XIII criminal street gang and the Puro Tango Blast street and prison gang, both of which have ties to Mexican drug cartels.

Agents also testified that Mr. Salinas had four firearms in his home to protect the drugs and any illegal proceeds.

One of Mr. 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 and is currently awaiting sentencing. His other codefendant, Omar Jorge Valle Estrada, has entered a plea of not guilty and is currently awaiting trial. (Mr. Estrada is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.)

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Field Division conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Dallas Police Department, the Hickory Creek Police Department, the Fort Worth Police Department, and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney George Leal prosecuted the case.This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.