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June 1, 2024

Alejandro Vasquez Indicted for Importing Suicide Drug

Homeland Security

CHICAGO — A federal grand jury in Chicago indicted a Mexican resident on drug charges for allegedly illegally importing the drug pentobarbital into the United States from Mexico for use in committing suicide.

The indictment followed a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Chicago investigation.

A superseding indictment returned May 28 in U.S. District Court in Chicago charges Daniel Gonzalez-Menguia, also known as Alejandro Vasquez, 40, of Puebla, Mexico, with importing and distributing a controlled substance.

The charges in the indictment are punishable by up to 60 years in federal prison.

Gonzalez-Munguia is currently detained in U.S. custody. His arraignment in federal court in Chicago has not yet been scheduled.

“HSI is committed to combating the importation of illegal drugs that have such devastating impacts in our communities and will not stop until those responsible are brought to justice,” said HSI Chicago Special Agent in Charge Sean Fitzgerald.

“Our efforts to disrupt and dismantle these kinds of illegal activity are unwavering, and we will continue to work tirelessly to protect our communities from the devastating impact of illegal drugs.”

Pentobarbital, also known under the brand name Nembutal, is a drug sold in Mexico in commercially available bottles for the purpose of euthanizing animals.

Pentobarbital is a controlled substance in the United States and has been used in state-sponsored executions.

According to the indictment and a criminal complaint previously filed in the case, Gonzalez-Munguia operated an online drug business to facilitate the sale and distribution of pentobarbital to individuals who were contemplating suicide in the United States and throughout the world.

During the investigation, law enforcement authorities located numerous mail parcels that appear to have been shipped out of Mexico by Gonzalez-Munguia.

Authorities in the United States and several foreign countries conducted well-being checks and recovered pentobarbital from numerous individuals who admitted to being despondent and ordering the suicide drug online via email addresses operated by Gonzalez-Munguia, the charges allege.

Law enforcement offered assistance to these individuals.

In other instances, individuals who purchased Pentobarbital via the email addresses were later found to be deceased, including individuals in the Chicago area and several other states and countries, the charges allege.

An indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The indictment was announced by Fitzgerald, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Morris Pasqual and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Chicago Inspector in Charge Ruth Mendonça.

Valuable assistance was provided by

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection,
  • Illinois Army National Guard Counterdrug Program,
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas,
  • Law enforcement agencies in
    • Australia,
    • Canada,
    • China,
    • France,
    • Germany,
    • Ireland,
    • South Korea,
    • Spain,
    • Switzerland and
    • the United Kingdom.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kartik K. Raman is prosecuting the case.

The officials noted that the investigation remains ongoing.