For release on April 14, 2020
Deputy District Attorney
Major Narcotics Unit
South Bay Man Who Sold Fake Opioids Charged with Murder After Teen Fatally Overdoses
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has charged a San Jose man with murder after a Santa Clara 18-year-old who bought powerful fake opioid pills from him through Snapchat died of an overdose last week.
The girl and her 17-year-old boyfriend overdosed after buying pills containing fentanyl from Anthony Minjares, 22. Santa Clara first responders were able to resuscitate her boyfriend.
Prosecutors charged Minjares with murder under the theory that he advertised and sold the fake pills despite knowing they were extremely dangerous. Minjares is expected to be arraigned today at 1:30 p.m. with murder and numerous narcotics-related felonies at the Hall of Justice in San Jose. He faces life-in-prison.
“The destructive and devastating power of illegal opioids has ravaged many parts of this country,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “The recklessness of those who peddle these extremely dangerous and illegal counterfeit drugs is tantamount, legally and ethically, to murder.”
Fatal fentanyl-related overdoses have spiked in Santa Clara County in recent weeks. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is far more toxic than most other opioids and is the leading cause of overdose deaths in America. Officials strongly warned that they are seeing a potentially deadly variant of the drug flooding the illegal drug market.
In this case, the two teens – thinking they were buying Percocet - bought the counterfeit pills that contained fentanyl – not oxycodone – as well as other drugs from Minjares on April 5. By that evening, the male victim was unresponsive. His life was saved by quick-acting firefighters using Naloxone. The female was found hours later that night in an upstairs bedroom. She could not be revived. On April 9, Santa Clara police investigators arrested Minjares, seizing drugs, paraphernalia and cash. District Attorney Rosen praised the Santa Clara Police Department’s rapid identification of the suspect and thorough investigation.
Fentanyl is approximately 50 to 100 times more toxic than morphine. Just a few grains can cause a fatal overdose. Illicit fentanyl is sometimes pressed into pills made to look like other prescription pills (like oxycodone, hydrocodone, Xanax and others.) In Santa Clara County, fentanyl is especially prevalent in fake generic pills designed to look like Mallinckrodt-manufactured 30 milligram oxycodone hydrochloride (called “M30s,” “M-box-30s,”“pressed blues,” “blues,” “Oxy,” Mexican Oxy” and other names).
If you or someone you know is addicted to opioids please visit the County of Santa Clara Behavioral Health Services Substance Use Treatment Services webpage.