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Press Release

Drug Dealer Pleads Guilty to Distributing Fentanyl Resulting in Overdose Death

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California

Assistant U. S. Attorneys Kareem A. Salem (619) 546-8904 and Larry Casper (619) 546-6734


SAN DIEGO – Arnold Ray Walters III of San Diego pleaded guilty today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen S. Crawford to distributing fentanyl that resulted in the overdose death of a 24-year-old male who resided in Poway on January 1, 2017. The charge to which Walters pleaded guilty carries a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence.

According to his plea agreement, Walters admitted that, on or about December 31, 2016, he knowingly provided a pressed-blue pill containing fentanyl to another individual and understood that it would, in turn, be provided to the victim.  Walters also admitted he was aware of the potentially lethal impact of the fentanyl based on his knowledge of other individuals accidentally overdosing on fentanyl.

“We will continue to vigorously prosecute those selling deadly fentanyl for profit and who take lives and destroy families in the process,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Randy S. Grossman. “Fentanyl overdose deaths increased threefold in San Diego County from 2019 to 2020.  Our office is working with law enforcement to pursue fentanyl suppliers and hold them accountable for the tragic results of their unlawful activities.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Grossman praised the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, Homeland Security Investigations, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kareem Salem and Larry Casper for their efforts on this case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also works closely on these matters with agents from Narcotics Task Force Team 10, a multi-agency team housed by DEA that was created in July 2018 to address drug overdose deaths in San Diego.

Sheriff Bill Gore said, “This case highlights the commitment of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department in following all available leads and working collaboratively with our justice partners to investigate and prosecute overdose deaths.”

Walters, who is also pending sentencing on an earlier guilty plea to federal firearms charges, is scheduled to be sentenced on both cases by U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino on May 21, 2021 at 9 a.m.

For those who suffer from addiction, please know there is help. Call the Crisis line at 888-724-7240; it’s always open.

DEFENDANT                                      Case Number 19-CR-4406-JLS                                     

Arnold Ray Walters III                                                    Age: 33          


Distribution of Fentanyl Resulting in Death – Title 21, U.S.C., Section 841(b)(1)(c)

Maximum penalty: Mandatory minimum 20 years in prison up to life


San Diego Sheriff’s Department

U.S. Homeland Security Investigations

Updated March 4, 2021

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: CAS21-0304-Walters