Santa Clara Charges Teen With Murder After Fentanyl Overdose

Santa Clara County prosecutors have filed murder charges against a 16-year-old for supplying fentanyl to a young girl who later died of an overdose. The extraordinary legal case highlights the explosive nature of the opioid crisis and prosecutors’ attempts to get tough on those who sell the deadly drug.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office says there is evidence the defendant knew how deadly fentanyl could be before he sold it to the 12-year-old girl. These include screenshots of fentanyl overdose PSAs and warnings he posted to an online account.

The girl was the youngest person to die of a fentanyl overdose in Santa Clara in 2020. The dealer is the second person to be charged with murder for selling fentanyl in Santa Clara.

"After thousands of deaths, everyone should know that fentanyl is a deadly poison," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. "Thanks to the San Jose Police Department, the Santa Clara County Specialized Enforcement Team, and our investigators, this child's tragically short life may help save others."

As County News reported in November, some district attorneys in California are trying to crack down on dealers by pursuing murder charges when their products lead to fatal overdoses.

In 2020, there were 3,946 fatal overdoses of fentanyl in California.