Butte County deputies arrest man suspected of bringing fentanyl into jail

Local News

OROVILLE, Calif. (KTXL/AP) — Butte County sheriff’s deputies arrested a man suspected of smuggling fentanyl into the county jail, leading to several overdoses.

Sheriff’s officials say the 35-year-old is accused of hiding the drugs in his anal cavity when he turned himself in to authorities on an outstanding warrant for property crimes.

The man was taken to jail on Wednesday. On Thursday, four inmates were hospitalized after suffering opioid overdoses in a medium-security housing unit of the jail.

Deputies at the county jail said they learned about three inmates who appeared to be experiencing an overdose early Thursday morning. 

Authorities said there were two more overdoses following the three early Thursday: one later in the day and one on Friday. 

Correctional staff said they administered naloxone, the opioid-overdose antidote, after finding the inmates.

Only one of the inmates remains at the hospital. The others are back in custody at the jail. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent.

“The illegally used fentanyl most often associated with recent overdoses is made in labs. This synthetic fentanyl is sold illegally as a powder, dropped onto blotter paper, put in eye droppers and nasal sprays, or made into pills that look like other prescription opioids,” according to the NIDA website.

NIDA officials said illegal fentanyl is especially dangerous because people are often unaware that fentanyl has been mixed with other drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and MDMA.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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