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Man accused of shipping ‘suicide drug’ around the world


A Mexican man is facing new charges in Chicago’s federal court alleging he shipped a powerful sedative often used in state-sanctioned executions to buyers around the world seeking to end their lives, including one who was promised the drug could assure a “peaceful exit.”

Daniel Gonzalez-Munguia, 40, was charged in superseding indictment filed this week with importing and distributing a controlled substance, which carries up to 60 years in prison if convicted.

Gonzalez-Munguia, of Puebla, Mexico, was arrested in 2021 on the initial charges, which were superseded by the new indictment this week, records show. No arraignment has yet been scheduled. His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

Gonzalez-Munguia is accused of the widespread sale of pentobarbital, a tightly controlled drug that has been used to carry out lethal injections.

It is commercially available in Mexico for purposes of euthanizing animals, the prosecutors’ news release states, but is regulated in the U.S. The drug is controversial for use in executions; some have alleged it carries a risk of significant pain and suffering, according to the Associated Press.

Gonzalez-Munguia allegedly operated a lucrative online business shipping the drug around the world, and at least two people in the Chicago area died by suicide after buying from him, authorities allege.

According to a 2016 affidavit by a Homeland Security special agent, Gonzalez-Munguia’s email account contained exchanges with many people seeking to buy the drug, including questions about dosage and details on how to wire the payments.

Using a fake name, the agent contacted Gonzalez-Munguia in hopes of making an undercover buy, the affidavit states.

Gonzalez-Munguia directed him to a website advertising houses for rent near Cancun: “just play a long about renting a house, this is to not me looking suspicious with Paypal,” he allegedly wrote.

The agent sent about $400 via PayPal and in exchange, the affidavit states, Gonzalez-Munguia sent a package whose contents were declared to be a “hot wheels collectible car toy” with a value of $5.

Inside, though, was a bottle of pentobarbital and some anti-nausea pills, the affidavit states. Gonzalez-Munguia’s fingerprints were found on the box that contained the bottle as well as on a piece of tape on the package, according to the affidavit.

Western Union records show that from July 2013 to April 2016, about 69 people from around the world wired money to Gonzalez-Munguia, totaling more than $41,000, according to the affidavit. And according to PayPal records, email addresses associated with Gonzalez-Munguia have collected more than $322,000 in payments “believed to be related to pentobarbital purchases.”

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