San Diego Resident Pleads Guilty to Distributing Fentanyl Resulting in Teenager’s Death

San Diego resident pleads guilty to distributing fentanyl, resulting in a teenager's death. This tragic case highlights the urgent need for prevention and prosecution of dangerous drugs.

In a devastating case of the dangers of illicit drug distribution, a San Diego resident named Jose Daniel Ramirez pleaded guilty to the possession and distribution of fentanyl that resulted in the death of a teenager. Ramirez sold fentanyl pills disguised as oxycodone to the victim and others, leading to a fatal overdose. Shockingly, even after learning of the teenager’s death, Ramirez continued to sell fentanyl to unsuspecting customers. This tragic incident highlights the urgent need for prosecution and prevention efforts surrounding the distribution of dangerous drugs like fentanyl, which continues to claim lives indiscriminately.

Table of Contents

San Diego Resident Pleads Guilty to Distributing Fentanyl Resulting in Teenager’s Death

Curious about your city’s darkest crime stories? Dive in here!

Background Information

Introduction to the Case

In a tragic case that highlights the dangers of illegal drug distribution, a San Diego resident, Jose Daniel Ramirez, has pleaded guilty to distributing fentanyl that resulted in the death of a teenager. This case sheds light on the devastating consequences of fentanyl abuse and the importance of prosecuting those who contribute to its distribution.

Overview of Fentanyl and its Dangers

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is much more powerful than other opioids like morphine or heroin. It is typically used as a pain medication, but its potency makes it highly dangerous when used illicitly. Fentanyl poses a significant risk of overdose and death due to its strength and the difficulty of accurately measuring doses.

Increase in Fentanyl Overdose Deaths

In recent years, there has been a disturbing increase in fentanyl overdose deaths across the United States. This deadly drug has infiltrated communities, leading to a public health crisis. Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors are actively working to combat the distribution of fentanyl and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

Importance of Prosecuting Fentanyl Distributors

Prosecuting individuals involved in the distribution of fentanyl is crucial to combatting the ongoing opioid epidemic. By targeting distributors like Jose Daniel Ramirez, law enforcement agencies aim to disrupt the supply chain of fentanyl and prevent further tragedies. Prosecutions send a strong message that illegal drug distribution will not be tolerated and that those who profit from the sale of these dangerous substances will face severe legal consequences.

Details of the Case

Identification of Jose Daniel Ramirez

Jose Daniel Ramirez, a resident of San Diego, was identified as the individual responsible for distributing fentanyl-laced pills that resulted in the death of a teenager referred to as K.W.P. in court records.

Sale of Fentanyl-Laced Pills

Ramirez admitted to selling fentanyl-laced pills disguised as oxycodone to K.W.P. and others. This illicit sale of dangerous drugs highlights the reprehensible actions of individuals who prioritize profits over human life.

Disguising the Pills as Oxycodone

To deceive buyers, Ramirez deliberately disguised the fentanyl-laced pills as oxycodone. This deceptive practice is common among drug dealers who seek to increase their sales by misrepresenting their products.

Text Messaging Evidence

Incriminating evidence was uncovered through a series of text messages exchanged between Ramirez and K.W.P. These messages documented their agreement for the sale of “2 blues,” which, unbeknownst to K.W.P., were actually fentanyl-laced pills.

Death of the Teenager (K.W.P.)

Tragically, K.W.P. died of a fentanyl overdose shortly after consuming the pills purchased from Ramirez. This loss of life serves as a stark reminder of the lethal consequences of fentanyl abuse.

Ramirez’s Reaction to K.W.P.’s Death

Following K.W.P.’s death, Ramirez took evasive measures by changing his phone number and informing his clients of the new number. Shockingly, even after learning of the fatal outcome, Ramirez continued to sell fentanyl-laced pills, displaying a callous disregard for human life.

Ramirez’s Arrest and Investigation

Date and Circumstances of Ramirez’s Arrest

On February 8, 2023, law enforcement officers arrested Jose Daniel Ramirez. The arrest occurred as a result of a coordinated effort by multiple law enforcement agencies determined to bring him to justice.

Search of Ramirez’s Residence

Subsequent to Ramirez’s arrest, investigators obtained a search warrant and conducted a thorough search of his residence. During the search, authorities discovered significant evidence related to Ramirez’s illegal activities.

Seized Items

Among the items seized during the search were two Glock handguns, over 250 rounds of various ammunition, approximately 2,600 blue pills containing fentanyl, as well as cocaine and other drugs. The discovery of these items further implicates Ramirez in the distribution of dangerous drugs.

Collaboration with Law Enforcement Agencies

The arrest and investigation of Ramirez involved collaboration between numerous law enforcement agencies, including Homeland Security Investigations, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and other local and federal partners. Such collaborative efforts are crucial in addressing complex cases and ensuring the successful prosecution of individuals involved in illegal drug distribution.

Prosecution and Sentencing

Guilty Plea of Jose Daniel Ramirez

After being apprehended, Jose Daniel Ramirez pleaded guilty in federal court to possession with intent to distribute pills containing fentanyl. This guilty plea serves as an admission of his involvement in the distribution of drugs that resulted in a tragic loss of life.

Sentencing Date and Judge

Jose Daniel Ramirez is scheduled to be sentenced on January 3, 2024, before U.S. District Judge Ruth Bermudez Montenegro. During the sentencing, Judge Montenegro will take into consideration the severity of Ramirez’s actions and the impact they had on the victim’s family and the community.

Potential Penalty for Distribution of Fentanyl

The distribution of fentanyl carries a maximum penalty of twenty years in prison under Title 18, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1). The prosecution will seek an appropriate sentence that reflects the gravity of Ramirez’s actions and serves as a deterrent to others involved in similar criminal activities.

Statement from Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Haden

Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Haden emphasized the seriousness of fentanyl-related deaths and the commitment of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to bring those responsible to justice. Haden stated, “Fentanyl deaths resulting from the actions of profit-seeking drug dealers will continue to be zealously prosecuted.” This statement underscores the determination of law enforcement authorities to combat the distribution of fentanyl and prevent further tragedies.

Collaborative Efforts to Combat Illegal Drug Distribution

Participating Law Enforcement Agencies

Multiple law enforcement agencies have joined forces in the fight against illegal drug distribution, particularly fentanyl. These include Homeland Security Investigations, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and other federal and local partners. Collaborative efforts are vital to effectively combat the pervasive issue of drug distribution in communities.

Focus on Fentanyl Distribution

Given the alarming increase in fentanyl-related deaths, law enforcement agencies have shifted their focus to targeting the distribution of this potent opioid. By prioritizing efforts to disrupt the distribution network, law enforcement aims to prevent further loss of life and protect communities from the devastating effects of fentanyl abuse.

Creation of the Overdose Response Team

The Drug Enforcement Administration established the Overdose Response Team in response to the growing number of overdose deaths in San Diego County. This specialized team, comprised of task force officers and special agents, is dedicated to investigating and responding to fentanyl-related deaths.

Mission to Prevent Overdose Deaths

Law enforcement agencies, including Homeland Security Investigations, actively collaborate with government agencies, community organizations, and healthcare providers to implement preventive measures and educate the public about the dangers of fentanyl. Their mission is to save lives and prevent unnecessary overdose deaths.

Summary of Charges

Charge Against Jose Daniel Ramirez

Jose Daniel Ramirez faces charges related to the distribution of fentanyl, a dangerous and potentially lethal opioid.

Maximum Penalty for Distribution of Fentanyl

The maximum penalty for the distribution of fentanyl, as outlined in Title 18, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1), is twenty years in prison. The successful prosecution of Ramirez will hopefully serve as a deterrent to others involved in illicit drug distribution.

Involved Agencies

Role of Homeland Security Investigations

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) played a pivotal role in the arrest and investigation of Jose Daniel Ramirez. HSI, as part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is dedicated to combating transnational criminal organizations, including those involved in illegal drug distribution.

San Diego Sheriff’s Department’s Involvement

The San Diego Sheriff’s Department actively participated in the arrest of Ramirez and continues to work diligently to combat drug distribution in the community. By targeting drug dealers and dismantling drug networks, the Sheriff’s Department plays a crucial role in keeping the community safe.

Assistance from Drug Enforcement Administration

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) provided invaluable assistance in the investigation of Jose Daniel Ramirez. This federal agency is at the forefront of combating the illegal drug trade and enforcing federal drug laws.

Collaboration with Other Law Enforcement Agencies

In addition to HSI, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, and the DEA, other law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the San Diego Police Department, and the California Department of Health Care Services, collaborated in the investigation and prosecution of Ramirez. This collaborative effort highlights the significance of shared resources and expertise in successfully addressing complex cases.

Media Contact Information

Contact Person: Kelly Thornton

Phone Number: (619) 546-9726


For media inquiries or further information on this case, please reach out to Kelly Thornton, the Media Relations Director at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California.

Eager to uncover your city’s sinister side? Explore the latest crime news here!

Related Content

For more information on recent developments and press releases from the Southern District of California, please visit the U.S. Department of Justice’s official website.

Contact Details for Southern District of California


Federal Office Building 880 Front Street, Room 6293 San Diego, California 92101-8807

Phone Number:

(619) 557-5610

Toll-Free Number:

(800) 544-1106

Fax Number:

(619) 546-0720

TTY Number:

(619) 557-3450

For general inquiries or assistance, please contact the Southern District of California’s office.

Discover the underbelly of crime in your city; click for the raw stories!