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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Drug Dealer Pleads Guilty to Selling Counterfeit Pills that Caused Death of Thirty-Five-Year-Old

Assistant U. S. Attorney Sean Van Demark (619) 546-7657

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY—June 1, 2022

SAN DIEGO — Drug dealer Saul Caro pleaded guilty in federal court today, admitting that he sold the fentanyl that caused the fatal overdose of a thirty-five-year-old San Diego resident, identified in court records as M.S.

According to his plea agreement, on April 11, 2021, Caro and the victim exchanged text messages to coordinate the sale of counterfeit oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl. Caro delivered the pills to M.S.’s residence.

M.S. died in his apartment sometime on the evening of April 11, 2021. Caro admitted that the pills he gave to M.S. caused his death. When a search warrant was executed at Caro’s residence, a loaded, unregistered, semi-automatic privately manufactured firearm with no serial number, or “ghost gun” was located along with other drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Prior to this meeting, Caro had sold the counterfeit oxycodone pills to M.S., and the victim had told Caro that some of the pills had caused him severe unintended effects.

“Drug dealers are playing with fire when they sell illicit drugs because deadly fentanyl is everywhere. Dealers beware: the counterfeit pills or powder you sell will inevitably be laced with fentanyl. If you provide the fatal pill or powder, you will be held responsible for the victim’s death.” Grossman thanked the prosecution team and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security Investigations for their excellent work to achieve justice in this case.

“Deaths caused by fentanyl continue to rise in San Diego County as the cartels and drug dealers, such as Saul Caro, drive addiction,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Shelly S. Howe.  “In response, DEA has increased the number of investigators on our Overdose Response Team, making us laser focused on pursuing dealers who distribute deadly fentanyl.”

“Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Diego, along with the DEA and our San Diego law enforcement partners, are prioritizing investigations targeting both the drug cartels who are smuggling fentanyl into the United States and the local dealers who peddle this lethal drug within our community,” said HSI San Diego Special Agent in Charge Chad Plantz.    

Caro is scheduled to be sentenced on September 19, 2022 at 8:30 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel

This case is the result of ongoing efforts by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, and the DEA to investigate and prosecute the distribution of dangerous illegal drugs—fentanyl in particular—that result in overdose deaths. The DEA created Narcotics Task Force Team 10 as a response to the increase in overdose deaths in San Diego County. Agents from Team 10 contributed to the investigation into M.S.’s death.

DEFENDANTS                                             Case Number 21cr3100-GPC                                       

Saul Caro                                Age: 33                                   San Diego, CA

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Distribution of Fentanyl – Title 18, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1)

Maximum penalty: Twenty years in prison

AGENCY

Drug Enforcement Administration

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Homeland Security Investigations

San Diego County District Attorney’s Office

San Diego Police Department

State of California Department of Health Care Services

Topic(s): 
Opioids
Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 
CAS22-0601-Caro
Updated June 1, 2022