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Ex-pharmacy tech charged with murder in South Bay fentanyl overdose

Fentanyl crisis: What makes the drug so deadly
Fentanyl crisis: What makes the drug so deadly 03:08

MORGAN HILL – A disgraced pharmacy technician who lost his state license has been charged with murder in connection with the fentanyl overdose death of a South Bay woman, prosecutors said.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney's office confirmed to CBS News Bay Area that 34-year-old Benjamin Nathan Williams was charged Friday with murder and felony drug sales in the death of 26-year-old Hope Warrick last year.

According to an investigation by the Sheriff's Office, Warrick was found dead in her apartment in unincorporated Morgan Hill on Feb. 13, 2023 by her mother.

The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner's Office determined that Warrick had cocaine, amphetamine and fentanyl in her system when she died. Tests determined the substance found in Warrick's home contained both cocaine and fentanyl.

During a search of Warrick's phone, deputies said she performed a Google search on "how to tell if there is fentnynl (sic) in something."

Investigators also found a conversation between the victim and Williams that took place the night before her death. The messages purportedly show Williams selling Warrick what she believed was cocaine and "added in some extra for her."

Investigators said drug dealers often add fentanyl to narcotics to produce a stronger high.

According to the Department of Consumer Affairs Board of Pharmacy, Williams had previously served as a pharmacy technician at the Walgreens in Marina, near Monterey. Williams' license was revoked in 2021 after he admitted to stealing pills, including hydrocodone and morphine.

Deputies said Williams was arrested on Nov. 8, 2023 in Morgan Hill on suspicion of robbery and evading a police officer. Following the arrest, Williams' phone was seized, which also revealed the same messages sent between William and Warrick.

Jail records show Williams is being held at the Santa Clara County Jail on $71,000 bail.

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