Exposure To Deadly Drug Fentanyl Sends 18 Pittsburgh SWAT Officers To Hospital
According to CBS Pittsburgh, eighteen SWAT team officers were hospitalized Wednesday after raiding a residence in the city. It began at around 6 a.m. when multiple agencies began executing search warrants at three homes. At one location, agents were reportedly exposed to an airborne chemical, now believed to be the drug fentanyl.
Reports say the SWAT team, which consisted of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security, Pittsburgh police, Pittsburgh SWAT and state police, entered the home and found one of the suspects attempting to escape from a back window.
Investigators discovered a large amount of “white powder” on a kitchen plate with several stamped bags. One of the suspects knocked over the table “causing the powder narcotics to be airborne” said a Justice Department press release.
All eighteen officers were taken to UPMA Mercy Hospital after experiencing numbness and dizziness. All were later Medically cleared and released.
Anthony Lozito, 38, Lynell Guyton, 27, Calvin Armstrong, 31, and Kristen Shearer, 31, are being charged in federal court with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl. The suspects are scheduled to appear in court next week.
U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song noted in the Justice Department’s Press Release:
“Fentanyl exposure is an all too real risk to law enforcement as we learned this morning. Quick and professional action by first responders helped avert a potential catastrophe.”
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Due to its inexpensive and easy manufacturing process, increasingly, dealers have been adding an illicit version of fentanyl to other drugs to bolster profits.
A tiny amount of fentanyl can cause a life-threatening overdose, and often, users who buy heroin are unaware that their drug is tainted with a substance many times more deadly.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology