Spilled crystal meth sickens five and causes jail shutdown, authorities in Ohio have reported.
The Darke County Sheriff’s Office reported that the incident began on Tuesday with the arrest of Stephen A. Garner, Jr., 37. The Ohio Adult Parole Authority had requested Garner’s arrest, according to deputies.
While Garner was being booked into jail and searched, “multiple plastic baggies containing a white powdery substance dropped from the subject’s body.”
When he attempted to retrieve the baggies, at least one of them opened and spilled white powder on Garner, deputies, and the floor of the jail. Corrections officers then arrested Garner and placed him in a holding cell.
A short while later, deputies reported feeling light-headed and ill. Garner then lost consciousness and was unresponsive in his cell. At that time, jail staff summoned help from additional deputies and the Greenville Township Fire and Rescue.
Multiple emergency units responded, as well as patrol deputies, detectives, and off-duty corrections officers. First responders transported four deputies and Garner to the hospital four care. As a precaution, paramedics treated some of the victims with Narcan during emergency care.
Authorities then closed and locked down the Darke County Jail for an investigation and decontamination. The facility remained closed for a total of about two hours. Deputies report that no other inmates were at risk during the episode.
Hospital staff at Wayne Healthcare treated and release the four deputies and Garner. The Ohio Adult Parole Authority took custody of Garner.
The Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab later identified the substance spilled in the jail by Garner as methamphetamine.
Next Day, Round Two
The following day, Wednesday, April 18, the jail was up and running again when deputies and corrections officers again fell ill. EMS returned to the jail and this time took five officers to the hospital. Additional jail personnel arrived to maintain staffing levels at the jail.
As crews investigated the cause of the problem, five more officers began to display symptoms of contamination and also required hospital care.
Authorities believe that when Garner spilled the methamphetamine on Wednesday, some of it entered the jail’s ventilation system. When the air handling system returned to service the following day, it spread meth throughout the facility’s prisoner intake and booking area. Workers then fell ill after exposure to the drug.
Final Hit: Spilled Crystal Meth Sickens Five and Causes Jail Shutdown
Officials closed the building entirely because the affected area of the jail includes the control room where mechanical security measures are operated. Authorities freed some inmates, either because their release had already been scheduled or was ordered by a judge. Others bonded out.
The facility transferred approximately 28 additional prisoners to jails in Miami and Mercer counties. Deputies from the clandestine drug labs force operated the security control room while wearing self-contained breathing apparatus to complete the evacuation of the jail.
The sheriff’s office plans to hire an environmental contractor to decontaminate the intake and booking area. Separate air handling units serve the other areas of the facility including inmate housing and the dispatch office, so they will not require cleaning.
The sheriff’s office initiated a criminal investigation to look into the case. Investigators plan to forward their findings to the Darke County Prosecutor for possible criminal charges against Garner.
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