DEA busts female drug dealer getting bulk mail-order fentanyl delivery for 500,000 deadly doses

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CLEVELAND, OH – U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman announced today that a federal grand jury sitting in Cleveland has returned a two-count indictment charging Erika Vega Ramirez, age 31, of Toledo, Ohio, with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances and attempted possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl.

“Fentanyl has killed thousands and thousands of Ohioans,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “This defendant is alleged to have possessed enough fentanyl to kill 500,000 more. I am grateful for the actions of our law enforcement partners who prevented these deadly drugs from reaching the streets.”

“Battling the distribution of synthetic drugs in the U.S. is one of the Postal Inspection Service’s highest priorities,” said Inspector in Charge Lesley Allison.  “This case proves Postal Inspectors and the Drug Enforcement Administration remain steadfast in their partnership to bring those who choose to distribute these illegal and dangerous narcotics to justice. This should serve as an example to criminals dealing in these dangerous and illegal substances that we are unwavering in our mission to identify and disrupt their illegal activity.”

“The defendant in this case had more than a kilogram of fentanyl in her possession — enough to give a deadly dosage to more than 500,000 people,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin. “Working with our federal partners at the U.S. Postal Service, we were no doubt able to save countless lives.”

According to court documents, on or about November 17, 2020, Postal Inspectors with the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) identified a parcel suspected of containing drugs addressed to a residence on E. Broadway St in Toledo, Ohio. On November 18, A canine used to detect narcotics gave a positive alert on the parcel, and a search warrant was obtained. Inside the package, Inspectors discovered that the parcel allegedly contained 1001 grams of fentanyl.

On November 19, 2020, the criminal complaint states that law enforcement agents with the USPIS and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) conducted a controlled delivery of the parcel with the fentanyl replaced.

The criminal complaint states that an unidentified female, later identified as the defendant, opened the front door, accepted the parcel and brought it inside the residence. Shortly thereafter, Postal Inspectors and DEA task force officers executed a search warrant and detained the defendant.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the Court after reviewing factors unique to this case, including each defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, each defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum, and in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.

This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and Drug Enforcement Agency. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Deyana Unis.