A Dallas man, 48-year-old Joaquin Salinas, was sentenced to life in federal prison on September 27 for accepting a $3.7 million meth delivery. The delivery was concealed in cauliflower boxes, according to a press release from the Department of Justice. The sentencing was announced by U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham.
U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn made the sentencing after the September 27 hearing.
The case against Salinas was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney George Leal, the press release shares, and the investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Field Division. The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, the Fort Worth Police Department, the Hickory Creek Police Department, and the Dallas Police Department assisted in the investigation.
Eduardo A. Chavez, the Special Agent in Charge of DEA Dallas, shared that thousands of lives were saved by keeping the meth delivery from reaching the streets.
“Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug that affects tens of thousands of lives every year,” Chavez said in the press release. “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.”
The delivery was received by Salinas on August 29, 2021, according to the Justice Department. He allegedly worked with two codefendants, Angel Cabrera and Omar Jorge Valle Estrada.
“At Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, agents testified that their investigation revealed the methamphetamine was imported from Mexico,” the press release reads. “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.”
The weight of the meth delivery was around 247 kilograms.
The Salinas investigation and prosecution is part of an investigation from the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces.
This task force “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,” the press release shares.
It is an independent part of the U.S. Department of Justice and was created in 1982. The task force is also the largest of the country’s anti-crime task forces, according to the Justice Department’s website. It is accountable for about 5,000 state and local police, around 500 federal prosecutors, and 1,200 federal agents.
Both of the codefendants have entered their pleas, the press release shares. Estrada entered a not-guilty plea and is waiting for trial. Cabrera entered a guilty plea for one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and is now waiting for sentencing.