Seattle – A 35-year-old Pennsylvania man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle t0 54 months in prison for distributing fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl in the Western District of Washington, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Jesse S. Dittmar sent multiple envelopes containing the drug to his former girlfriend who had moved to her brother’s home in Seattle. The former girlfriend was found dead on January 29, 2019, less than 24 hours after she texted Dittmar that she had done some of the drugs that arrived in the mail, and that she was feeling unwell. At the sentencing hearing Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez noted the “recklessness” of sending powerful fentanyl through the mail. Chief Judge Martinez told Dittmar “This is a sad case from every possible aspect…. You are responsible for the direct actions you took that led to the victim’s death.”
“Sending deadly fentanyl through the mail, disguised in colorful greeting cards, was incredibly dangerous – for postal workers and for the children and adults who may have opened the cards in their Seattle home,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Gorman. “Fentanyl is claiming far too many lives in our area with overdose deaths up 38% in 2021 compared to the first six months of 2020.”
According to records filed in the case, the 32-year-old victim broke up with Dittmar and moved to her brother’s home in Seattle in the fall of 2018. Despite Dittmar’s repeated attempts to text the victim, the victim cut off contact with Dittmar until December 2018. During December 2018 and January 2019, Dittmar and the victim were in contact and the texts make clear he was sending her drugs enclosed in greeting cards. Dittmar repeatedly threatened suicide or exposure of the victim’s drug use if she did not continue the relationship. On the day she died, the victim texted Dittmar that she had taken some of the drugs and did not feel well. Dittmar texted the victim 25 times over the next few hours but did not get any response. He did not call her family or alert 9-1-1 that she might have overdosed. She was discovered dead the next day. Following the victim’s death, multiple greeting cards and packaging materials for drugs were found in the victim’s bedroom. The King County Medical Examiner determined the victim died from acute drug intoxication including fentanyl.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) with assistance from the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Fire Department.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lyndsie Schmalz.
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