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March 4, 2021

Doctor charged with illegal drug sales

A top administrator of Santa Clara County’s health plan was charged with 18 felonies this week, accused of trading prescriptions for addictive drugs – including Oxycontin – in return for cash and methamphetamine, according to authorities from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office.

Dr. Marvin Bonham, 61 of Los Gatos, the medical director of the Valley Health Plan, Health and Hospital System of Santa Clara County, allegedly wrote more than half of his prescriptions for county residents who had criminal drug histories, according to a press release from the D.A.’s office.

Bonham also offered to give methamphetamine and marijuana to minors, authorities said.

The case against Bonham is the result of a multi-agency probe titled “Operation Oxy Exchange,” led by the Attorney General’s Santa Clara County Specialized Enforcement team, the press release said.

Bonham is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 18 at the Terraine Street Courthouse in San Jose.

Charges against him include possession of methamphetamine for sale, prescribing without legitimate medical purpose, prescribing to addicts, possession of psilocybin mushrooms, possession of ecstasy and possession of marijuana for sale, authorities said.

He is out of custody in lieu of $1 million bail, according to the press release. If convicted, Bonham faces up to 25 years in prison.

“Doctors are supposed to care for the health of their patients, not to recklessly give them access to powerful, addictive drugs,” supervising deputy district attorney James Sibley said.

Santa Clara County investigators followed up on a number of unusual drug-related police reports revolving around Bonham, his vehicle, storage facility, and home, and subsequently reviewed the state’s controlled substances database, authorities said.

The reports showed Bonham, a pediatrician who held an administrative position at Valley Health Plan, wrote a number of prescriptions for addictive drugs to 29 different adults in less than two years. More than half the people had criminal histories, including some with arrest records for drug use and sales, authorities said.

Investigators searched his home, where they found weapons, and a variety of drugs including sales quantities of methamphetamine, according to the press release. They also found a marijuana grow room in a crawl space under Bonham’s hillside home.

Also charged with three drug-related felonies was Bonham’s roommate James Schneider, 32 of Los Gatos.

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