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Los Gatos Doctor Charged With 18 Felony Drug Charges

Marvin Bonham was acting as the medical director of the Santa Clara County Valley Health Plan.

Los Gatos doctor Marvin Bonham, a top administrator of Santa Clara County’s health plan, has been charged with 18 felonies this week, accused of trading prescriptions for powerful drugs—including Oxycontin—in return for cash and methamphetamines.

Bonham, 61, 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; offered to give minors methamphetamines; and gave them marijuana, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

The case against Bonham is the result of a multi-agency probe, spearheaded by the Attorney General’s Santa Clara County Specialized Enforcement Team, entitled “Operation Oxy Exchange.”

Bonham is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, Oct. 18 in department 63 of Santa Clara County drug court on Terraine Street in San Jose.

The charges 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. He is out of custody on $1 million bail.

If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

Supervising Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney James Sibley said, “Doctors are supposed to care for the health of their patients, not to recklessly give them access to powerful, addictive drugs.”

SCCSET agents, following up on a number of unusual drug-related police reports revolving around Bonham, his vehicle, storage facility, and home, reviewed the state controlled substances database - CURES (Controlled Substance Utilization and Review System.)

These reports showed that Bonham, a pediatrician whose position at Valley Health Plan was purely administrative, allegedly wrote a substantial number of prescriptions for major drugs of abuse to 29 different adults in less than two years. More than half of these people had criminal histories, with 10 having records of arrests for drug use and sales.

A law enforcement search discovered weapons, sales quantities of methamphetamine, marijuana, and ecstasy, as well as a marijuana grow room in the crawl space under Bonham’s hillside estate in Los Gatos, a press release issued by the DA's office said.

Substantial quantities of drying marijuana hung in the garage and the home was littered with burnt foil and hollowed pens that appeared to have been used to smoke drugs, the release stated.

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

Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz October 18, 2012 at 04:01 AM
WOW, I use to work there! These Dr.'s know better! Well he got caught...
Esmée St James October 18, 2012 at 06:01 AM
Kudos to those working on Operation Oxy Exchange. It's maddening to see what happens when the wrong people get into a position of power. Is it really just all about the money?
Jeanne Rajabzadeh October 18, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Glad they caught him, not the type of health professional we need serving the public.
Connie Williams October 19, 2012 at 12:37 AM
OMG! My kids went to him. I thought he was such a stellar doctor. I'm so disappointed.
Ethan Harmer October 19, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Dang! Just when I needed a refill!!

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