Addiction Treatment

Sinaloa Cartel couriers try selling $224K cough syrup

Call 800-926-9037 to speak with an alcohol or drug abuse counselor. Who Answers?

Sinaloa Cartel couriers try selling $224K cough syrup

Two men linked to the brutal Sinaloa Cartel drug organization in Mexico went to jail for five years in Mississippi after trying to convince U.S. customers to buy cough syrup for $224,000.

Drug Enforcement Agency officers arrested the two men, Francisco Espinosa-Suarez and Juan Espinal-Tejada, at the Island View Casino Resort on West Beach Blvd., where they came expecting to be paid $224,000 for what they thought was nine pounds of fentanyl.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, can be a hundred times more powerful than heroin, and it can cripple or kill in tiny doses, even if it is accidentally inhaled, which makes it a particular threat to drug-sniffing dogs.

But what Espinal-Tejada and Espinosa-Suarez had wasn’t fentanyl, as it turned out. It was noscapine, a non-narcotic cough suppressing syrup.

According to authorities, the two men, who lived in Cleveland, Tenn., northeast of Chattanooga, had already attempted to sell their counterfeit fentanyl in Ohio. But the Ohio buyer, heeding the caveat emptor maxim, tested the drugs, found them to be fake, and refused to buy them.

So Espinal-Tejada, 37, and Espinosa-Suarez, 32, came south to Gulfport.

When the DEA’s agents closed in and arrested the two men, they found loaded guns in their vehicle at the resort.

Although tests showed the material they were selling was cough syrup, the two admitted they thought they were smuggling fentanyl. One of their attorneys suggested they’d been duped by overlords in the notorious Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico. Nevertheless, the men were convicted of smuggling drugs across state lines.

After their prison sentences, the two men will be sent back to their home countries. Espinosa-Suarez will be deported to Mexico and Espinal-Tejada will go to the Dominican Republic.

The Sinaloa Cartel, which began operations in the late 1980s, originated on Mexico’s long Pacific Coast, but now has tentacles stretching into many Latin American nations and around the world.

How Our Helpline Works

For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the helpline is a private and convenient solution.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC).

We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you. Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.

For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.

I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOWI NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOW 800-926-9037Response time about 1 min | Response rate 100%
Who Answers?