Inmate and Guard Hospitalized After Possible Fentanyl Overdose
San Andreas, CA – A scary scene at the Calaveras County Jail as a prisoner overdosed and exposed a guard to possible fentanyl – both had to be given a lifesaving drug to counteract the opioid.
The incident happened last night around 5:35 p.m. when the correctional officer was conducting routine security checks in the jail. Sheriff’s spokesperson Lt. Greg Stark detailed that the officer found a 37-year-old female inmate from Murphys lying face down in one of the observation cells and while trying to aid her noticed a white powdery substance on the cell floor.
The officer dragged the woman out of the cell. When emergency responders arrived both the correctional officer and the inmate were showing signs of possible “exposure/overdose to an opioid.” How the drug was transmitted to the guard whether airborne or touch remains under investigation. Lt. Stark relayed that multiple emergency doses of Narcan nasal spray, approved for the treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose, were administered. He disclosed that while both responded to the Narcan, they were rushed to the Mark Twain Medical Center.
Once out of danger, deputies questioned the inmate, who had been arrested on burglary and possession of stolen property warrants out of Calaveras and Amador counties. The latter carrying a $250,000 bail, but Lt. Stark did not have further details. Regarding the powdery substance, she confessed to “smuggled fentanyl” into the jail knowing she would be incarcerated for a while. Asked whether a body search was done on the woman upon entering the jail, Lt. Stark replied, “A complete search was conducted when she entered the jail. However, she managed to circumvent the visual search that was conducted.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is stronger than morphine and heroin. Lt. Stark explained, “We’re calling it fentanyl only because she did, but she may have been sold something that wasn’t fentanyl. Who knows what she bought? I mean, there’s not a whole lot of quality control going on with drug dealers.” He added she also admitted that she had used the drug while in her cell and accidentally overdosed.
Calaveras County Sheriff’s Hazard Materials Team responded to the jail to collect the unknown substance. They also did an extensive decontamination procedure overnight involving the cell area and cleansing of staff from possible exposer. Lt. Stark disclosed, “The substance will be sent to the Department of Justice for analysis. It was not weighed but was less than three grams.”
Acknowledging that it could have been much worse and noting that it was fortunate this did not happen in the general population area. Lt. Stark added, “This was an isolated cell. There were no other inmates in the proximity. It was a holding cell by booking, so it wasn’t like we had to rush or treat multiple inmates. She was by herself.”
Along with the warrants, the female inmate tacked on felony charges of bringing a controlled substance into jail, assault upon a correctional officer by means likely to produce great bodily harm, and possession and being under the influence of a controlled substance. Ironically, Lt. Stark calls her lucky, stating, “She’s lucky she’s alive. We’re thankful the correctional officer is alive. The officer was released and expected to make of full recovery and return to work.”