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Press Release

South Texas dealer admits to selling fentanyl to teenager resulting in death

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

LAREDO, Texas –  A 22-year old resident of Laredo has admitted to providing fentanyl to a 15-year-old, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Jose Antonio Carlos III aka Jose Carlos entered a guilty plea to distributing fentanyl resulting in death.

On May 17, 2023, authorities responded to an overdose call at a home in Laredo. Once on scene, they found the victim laying in his bed unresponsive and holding a rolled-up dollar bill with a white powder on it. The white powder later tested positive for fentanyl. A toxicology report and autopsy confirmed the cause of death to be fentanyl toxicity.

The investigation revealed text messages which showed the victim wanting to buy “pase” from Carlos. “Pase” was code for cocaine. Carlos indicated the price and provided an address off Longoria Loop.

On the evening of May 16, 2023, an individual drove the victim to that address. There, a person later identified as Carlos handed the victim a small baggie with a white powder inside it. The driver then dropped off the victim at his home, a home he shared with his aunt.

The next morning, the victim’s aunt heard her nephew’s phone ringing. She thought the victim overslept, so she knocked on his door but heard no response. She then tried to open the door to the victim’s bedroom but was unable to, so she climbed in through one of the bedroom windows.

Once inside the room, she noticed her nephew laying face down on the bed. When she touched him, his body was stiff and cold. Law enforcement responded to the residence and pronounced the victim dead on-scene. 

As part of his guilty plea, Carlos admitted to selling “pase” to the victim. He also acknowledged sending a text to the victim May 17, 2023, asking “What’s up was it good or no[?].”

“Carlos’ decision to sell illicit drugs caused the death of a 15-year-old child,” said Hamdani. “Tragically, this case illustrates that no person - regardless of age - is safe from fentanyl’s deadly grip. As long as drug dealers decide to ply their illicit trade, aunts, uncles, fathers and mothers everywhere will continue to discover the cold, lifeless bodies of the children they love and now have lost.”

U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo will impose sentencing at a later date. At that time, Carlos faces a minimum of 20 years and up to life in federal prison. He could also be ordered to pay up to a $1 million fine.

Carlos will remain in custody pending that hearing.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol, Laredo Police Department and Webb County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation with assistance from the Webb County Medical Examiner. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian Bajew and Leslie Cortez are prosecuting the case.

This case is being prosecuted as part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF is the largest anti-crime task force in the country. OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found on the Department of Justice’s OCDETF webpage.

More information on the dangers of fentanyl can be found on the DEA’s website. #OnePillCanKill

Updated January 4, 2024

Drug Trafficking