Bay Area/ San Jose/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on March 04, 2024
San Jose Former Pharmacy Technician Charged With Murder in Fentanyl-Laced Overdose DeathSource: Google Street View

Former pharmacy technician Benjamin Nathan Williams, 34, of San Jose, faces a grim reality after being charged with murder and felony drug sales in connection to the overdose death of Hope Noel Warrick. She succumbed to a lethal cocktail of cocaine and undisclosed amounts of fentanyl on February 13, 2023. Williams, once licensed to handle medications, was decertified for stealing drugs and now sits behind bars, his bail set at a steep $71,000.

Warrick's tragic end unfolded after she received the laced drugs from Williams, who allegedly failed to fully disclose the dangerous addition to the substance he sold her. As she struggled to spot warning signs of fentanyl in her cocaine, a simple misspelled, desperate internet search—"how to tell if there is fentnynl in something"—stands as a haunting testimony to her peril. The tale comes amidst growing concerns over the insidious spread of fentanyl into street drugs, as per the distress aired by UC Berkeley's Dr. Jamie Chang, a quote reported by the Mercury News.

Investigations by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office turned the spotlight onto Williams following an alarming discovery: his phone contained evidence of dealing and using fentanyl, as well as a blatant awareness of its deadly nature. The probe into Warrick's overdose death drew a direct line to Williams, revealing incriminating messages where he hinted at "adding some more in for her," details which came to light after his apprehension for separate charges, according to the Sheriff's Office summary read by the X post from Henry K. Lee.

Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen stands firm in his stance against the disgraced technician, expressing devastation that Williams, with his pharmaceutical knowledge, knowingly endangered lives. Rosen's statement, obtained by the Mercury News, reveals a zero-tolerance approach, solidified by Williams's past drug dealing using baggies branded with a Walgreens logo. The same company had to let him go over narcotics theft. This history only compounds the severity of the case against him.

Parents like Ed Ternan, who tragically lost his son to this growing epidemic, urge a wariness of street-purchased drugs. "If you are taking pills and powders in 2024, you just don’t know what it contains," Ternan told the Mercury News, underscoring the perils that even a single experimental misuse can pose.