Eastvale Man, 21, Charged With Murder In Connection With Overdose Death

A 21-year-old Eastvale man has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the overdose death of an 18-year-old, the Riverside County District Attorney's Office said Monday.

Video Transcript

A first in Riverside County, the DA has charged an accused drug dealer with second degree murder for allegedly giving fentanyl to someone who died.

MIKE HESTRIN: This is a growing gathering threat. It's a menace. People are dying in-- in incredible numbers.

According to DA Mike Hestrin, Joseph Castanza knew the risks of giving these drugs to people and that knowledge, along with the evidence investigators gathered, qualified him to be charged. The DA's office says there were 227 fentanyl related deaths in the county last year, four times the number as in 2019. Hestrin is working with the US Attorney's office, the FBI, and the DEA to develop strategies to curb that troubling trend.