BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
An East Palo Alto man has been charged with selling fentanyl to a San Carlos woman who later died from the drug, a prosecutor said yesterday.
Jon Oxenford, 25, is believed to have sold 32-year-old Alison Catalli the fentanyl that resulted in her overdose death on Sept. 26, said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
Oxenford is charged with felony sale of narcotics, causing great bodily injury and possession of meth, which could result in an eight- to nine-year prison sentence, if convicted of all charges.
Wagstaffe said his office cannot charge drug dealers with murder, but other counties have charged drug dealers with the great bodily injury allegation and have been successful in defending that in court.
Oxenford was linked to Catalli based on a previous sale to her in May, said Wagstaffe. At that fentanyl sale in May, Catalli overdosed on the drug in Oxenford’s presence, Wagstaffe said.
“He was present when she had that first overdose, when she survived, and provided the fentanyl both times,” Wagstaffe said. “(We’re arguing) that he had the knowledge of this previous overdose.”
Oxenford is in jail in lieu of $122,500 and will be in court again on Jan. 23.
More powerful than morphine
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine. Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for pain management treatment of cancer patients, applied in a patch on the skin. It is often added to heroin to increase its potency, or to be disguised as highly potent heroin.
Many users believe that they are purchasing heroin and actually don’t know that they are purchasing fentanyl — which often results in overdose deaths, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Most fentanyl comes from Mexico
Clandestinely produced fentanyl is primarily manufactured in Mexico and smuggled across the border, according to the DEA. China also makes fentanyl, but much of it is sold through legal channels by prescription.
Fentanyl produces an intense, short-term high and temporary feelings of euphoria. But it slows respiration and reduces blood pressure. It leads to nausea, fainting, seizures and death.