Skip to main content
Press Release

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

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

SAN DIEGO – Jose Daniel Ramirez of San Diego pleaded guilty in federal court today to possession with intent to distribute pills laced with fentanyl that killed a 19-year-old Poway resident, referred to in court records as K.W.P., on January 3, 2023.

Ramirez admitted to selling the fentanyl pills, disguised as oxycodone, to K.W.P. and others. In a series of text messages, Ramirez agreed to sell “2 blues” to K.W.P. After receiving and consuming the pills, K.W.P. was found dead of a fentanyl overdose a few hours later. After learning of K.W.P.’s death, Ramirez changed his phone number, informed clients of his new number, and continued to sell fentanyl.

On February 8, 2023, law enforcement officers arrested Ramirez. Following Ramirez’s arrest, investigators secured a warrant and searched his residence. There they located two Glock handguns, over 250 rounds of various ammunition and approximately 2,600 blue pills containing fentanyl along with cocaine and other drugs. One of the handguns was fully loaded with a round of ammunition in the chamber.

 “It is outrageous that this defendant continued to sell fentanyl even after learning of their customers’ deaths,” said acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Haden. “Fentanyl deaths resulting from the actions of profit-seeking drug dealers will continue to be zealously prosecuted.”

“Fentanyl kills indiscriminately, and the defendants’ callous and irresponsible disregard led to the tragic death of a teenager,” said Chad Plantz, special agent in charge for HSI San Diego. “Overdoses due to fentanyl have dramatically increased – this is unacceptable. I commend the work of the HSI special agents and our partners who work tirelessly every single day to stop preventable drug poisonings from taking so many lives too soon.”

“Since 2017, the San Diego Sheriff's Department has been a leader in investigating drug overdose death cases,” said San Diego County Sheriff Kelly Martinez. “The Sheriff's Department is dedicated to identifying and arresting fentanyl dealers who provide this deadly drug to our communities. During this investigation, Mr. Ramirez continued selling this dangerous drug, but we were able to stop him in the act of selling fentanyl to an 18-year-old at the time of his arrest. The actions of all involved likely saved the life of another teenager. We are proud of the collaborative effort of Sheriff's FAST Detective Morse and his federal partners with Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the United States Attorney's Office.  The Sheriff's Department will continue in these partnerships and target these dangerous drug dealers in our continued effort to combat this deadly epidemic.”

Ramirez is scheduled to be sentenced on January 3, 2024, at 9 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Ruth Bermudez Montenegro.

Special Agents and Task Force Officers with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Overdose Response Team (formerly known as Team 10) led the investigation into K.W.P.’s death. This case is the result of ongoing efforts by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the San Diego Police Department, and the California Department of Health Care Services to investigate and prosecute the distribution of dangerous illegal drugs—fentanyl in particular—that result in overdose deaths. The Drug Enforcement Administration created the Overdose Response Team as a response to the increase in overdose deaths in San Diego County.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean Van Demark and Dylan M. Aste.

DEFENDANT                                               Case Number 23cr00274-RBM                                          

Jose Daniel Ramirez                                       Age: 20                       San Diego, CA


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

Maximum penalty: Twenty years in prison


Homeland Security Investigations

San Diego Sheriff

Drug Enforcement Administration


Media Relations Director Kelly Thornton (619) 546-9726 or    

Updated October 3, 2023

Press Release Number: CAS23-1003-Jose Daniel Ramirez