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Press Release

San Diego Resident Sentenced to 15 Years for His Role in Fatal Fentanyl Overdose

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

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

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY—November 15, 2022

SAN DIEGO—Drug dealer Saul Caro was sentenced in federal court today to 15 years in prison for providing the fentanyl that resulted in the overdose death of a 35-year-old business owner who lived in downtown San Diego.

Caro pleaded guilty on June 1, 2022, admitting that he sold powdered fentanyl to a man identified in court records as M.S. on April 11, 2021. The victim overdosed in his apartment and was found two days later.

While investigating his death, federal agents posed as the victim and texted Caro, requesting drugs. They set up a meeting time near a restaurant on July 22, 2021. Caro was arrested there. Officers found a plastic bindle containing a white powdery substance with a green tint that fell out of his left pants leg. It tested positive for fentanyl.

During a subsequent search of Caro’s residence, a loaded, unregistered, semi-automatic privately manufactured firearm with no serial number, or “ghost gun,” was located along with more ammunition, more drugs, and drug paraphernalia.

According to the government’s sentencing memo, the defendant communicated with the victim via text not only about getting the drugs, but also about the strength of the drug or its authenticity. For example, on April 12, 2020, the victim texted Caro about the potency of some drugs he had received.

M.S.: OK lemme know when here

M.S.: Lotttttt stronger! … def need to warn ppl

Caro: I did

M.S.: Yeah thanks otherwise would been bad news for me lol

On November 6, 2020, M.S. informed Caro that the drugs he received were altered in some way.

M.S.: Man, so the shit has real stuff in it no doubt. But they cut it with something that makes ur heart slam like nothing I’ve ever felt. Was worried for a few mins. Heart pounds like a sledgehammer jack hammering out of my chest… ugh why the hell did they have to put that shit in here and ruin it!

M.S.: Literally hands shaking like a leaf it’s crazy

Caro: He told me to be careful cuz its strong

M.S.: Lol yeah

Caro: My bads

“The defendant chose to disregard the significant risk associated with selling fentanyl and other drugs,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “His choices had severe consequences for a family that lost a beloved son and brother. The driving factor for all of us in law enforcement is the human toll that fentanyl is taking. We see the grief and destruction in person every day. We will continue to seek justice for every victim.” Grossman thanked the prosecution team and investigating agencies for their excellent work on this case.

“There is no place to hide,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Shelly Howe. “The DEA and its partners will continue to track down, arrest, and prosecute those who are driving addiction.”

“Today’s sentencing serves not only as a testament to HSI’s commitment to bring to justice those responsible for another overdose death but should also serve as a reminder to people; abusing drugs these days will likely kill you, said Chad Plantz, special agent in charge for HSI San Diego. “The men and women of HSI, alongside our partnered law enforcement agencies, will stop at nothing to pursue those that deal deadly drugs in our communities.”

Special Agents and Task Force Officers with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Overdose Response Team (formerly known as Team 10) led the investigation. 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.

DEFENDANT                                               Case Number 21-CR-3100-GPC                                         

Saul Caro                                Age: 33                                   San Diego, CA


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

Maximum penalty: Twenty years in prison


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

Updated November 15, 2022

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: CAS22-1115-Caro