A California man has been charged with murder for allegedly selling fentanyl-laced pills on Snapchat to two teens — one who fatally overdosed — who thought they were buying a less potent drug, prosecutors said.
Anthony Minjares, 22, of San Jose, was charged with murder and several narcotics-related felonies Tuesday after allegedly selling bogus pills through the app that contained fentanyl to an 18-year-old Santa Clara woman and her 17-year-old boyfriend who thought they were buying Percocet, the Santa Clare County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.
“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.”
Minjares was charged with murder because prosecutors allege he advertised and sold the fake pills on social media while well aware that they were extremely dangerous. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.
The 18-year-old victim was not identified by Rosen’s office, but court records and the county coroner’s office listed her as Grace Bhardwaj, the Mercury News reports.
Bhardwaj and her boyfriend, who was also not identified by Rosen’s office, bought the fake pills from Minjares on April 5. Later that evening, Bhardwaj’s boyfriend was found unconscious, but firefighters revived him with Naloxone, prosecutors said.
The female victim was found hours later that same evening in an upstairs bedroom and couldn’t be resuscitated, Rosen said.
Minjares was later arrested Thursday at his San Jose home, where investigators tracked him after identifying him on Snapchat, the Mercury News reports. Detectives seized drugs, drug paraphernalia and cash from the residence, Rosen said.
A search of Minjares’ phone by detectives also revealed that he searched online about the dangers fentanyl-laced oxycodone pills and pulmonary aspiration in reference to drug overdoses, the Mercury News reports.
“I believe Minjares knowingly sold fentanyl-laced oxycodone pills under the guise of the pills being Percocet,” a detective wrote in a probable cause statement obtained by the newspaper.
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