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March 30, 2023

Hollister police ‘stuck’ on fentanyl case returned from DA

A Hollister Police Department spokesman revealed that the agency is no longer actively investigating the case against a local man arrested, and later released, in connection to an overdose death from December 2017.

“Unless something else turns up, basically I think we’re stuck at this point,” Hollister police Sgt. Don Pershall told San Benito Live on Wednesday.

That all but closes the case against the man, 18 at the time of his arrest, previously released from jail after the district attorney declined to file manslaughter and other charges against him. At that point, the D.A. reported it returned the case to the HPD for further investigation, and police to this point had declined to talk specifics about the investigation.

Pershall on Wednesday said it’s “fairly uncommon” for prosecutors to return cases. But it does happen at times.

“Usually they  send it back and we’re able to do whatever they need to do,” Pershall said about investigators’ interactions with prosecutors. “In this particular case, it’s a tough case to prove.”

Earlier this year, the HPD reported how in mid-December 2017, police responded to a reported overdose death in the city. During the investigation, officers discovered the victim had ingested several narcotics and controlled substances. Police reported the drug unknowingly contained fentanyl, a powerful narcotic.

Police alleged that the victim obtained the controlled substances from the 18-year-old male who was later arrested during a search warrant executed by the HPD and Unified Narcotics Enforcement Team. Police booked him and accused him of involuntary manslaughter, and furnishing/sales of narcotics and controlled substances.

San Benito County District Attorney Candice Hooper, however, returned the case to the Hollister Police Department for further investigative work in April. With the D.A. returning the case, the man was released from jail.