Dallas man gets life in prison for smuggling meth concealed in cauliflower
A Dallas man who found a new use for cauliflower is going to jail: Joaquin Salinas, who received $3.7 million worth of methamphetamine hidden in boxes of cauliflower, was sentenced to life in federal prison, according to a release from U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham.
Salinas, 48, pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and was sentenced on September 27 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, in a statement. “Mr. Salinas chose to engage in this illicit activity and now can spend the rest of his life with the consequences of those actions."
According to plea papers, in August, 2021, Salinas received a shipment of approximately 247 kilograms of methamphetamine, shipped from Mexico and inside boxes of cauliflower.
This obviously beats any of the other various and sundry uses for cauliflower that have emerged in recent years for people avoiding gluten and/or meat, including cauliflower crusts for pizza instead of regular wheat; shredded cauliflower used as "rice"; and cauliflower "steak" made from cauliflower cut into thick slices and grilled.
At his sentencing hearing, testimony revealed that Salinas 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.
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 and is currently awaiting sentencing.
His other codefendant, Omar Jorge Valle Estrada, pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
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.