A 55-year-old man accused of transporting more than $230,000 worth of cocaine and fentanyl into Riverside County failed to make a scheduled court appearance Tuesday, prompting a judge to issue a warrant for his arrest.
Jose Isabel Ramirez is charged with two counts of possession of controlled substances for sale, as well as two counts of transportation of narcotics for sale and multiple sentence-enhancing allegations of possessing more than one kilogram of cocaine.
Ramirez was slated to appear for a trial status conference at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, but when his case was called, he was nowhere to be found.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Paul Dickerson immediately revoked Ramirez’s $250,000 bail bond and signed a bench warrant for his arrest, according to court records.
Ramirez was originally taken into custody last year by U.S. Border Patrol agents during a traffic stop on Interstate 15 in Temecula.
According to U.S. Border Patrol Agent Theron Francisco, on the afternoon of Oct. 9, 2019, agents spotted Ramirez’s 2009 Ford Escape on northbound Interstate 15, heading into Temecula, and stopped him based on unspecified suspicions of illegal activity.
While questioning Ramirez, the patrolmen noticed unusual patterns in the rear seat head supports, prompting a search of the compact SUV, Francisco said.
Francisco alleged metal boxes were discovered in the head supports, and stuffed inside the boxes were a dozen plastic-wrapped packages.
“Nine of the packages contained fentanyl and weighed 22 pounds, which is enough doses to kill more than 5 million people,” Francisco said.
“The remaining three packages contained cocaine and weighed 2.64 pounds. The drugs carry a combined estimated street value of $236,400.”
Ramirez was taken into custody without incident.
The seized drugs and investigation were turned over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Ramirez has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.