FBI, DCSO drug bust results in arrests, deputies exposure to fentanyl
STATELINE, Nev. — A crime scene quickly expanded Thursday night as a drug bust went bad for several officers involved.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said a five-month-long investigation into the narcotics trafficking activities resulted in five deputies being accidentally exposed to powder fentanyl and suffered symptoms related to acute fentanyl exposure.
The exposed officers displayed symptoms of overdose and after dosing with naloxone, medical first responders transferred them to Barton Memorial Hospital. All five officers were released early on Friday morning.
Ron Elges, DCSO undersheriff, said the exposure occurred during evidence collection.
Assisting the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office with this incident were the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District, the East Fork Fire Protection District, the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, the Eldorado County Sheriff’s Office, the Reno DEA Office, the Reno Police Department, the Carson City Sheriff’s Office, and the Carson City Fire Department.
Regina Rojas, a 35-year-old female from Rancho Cordova, California and Jessica Thomas, a 32-year-old female from Sacramento, were the suspects involved in the ongoing investigation.
Officials said during the course of the investigation, the Street Enforcement Team and the FBI made a number of undercover purchases of fentanyl, methamphetamine, and heroin from Rojas and Thomas in Douglas County. Approximately 829.1 grams of fentanyl, 1,722.8 grams of methamphetamine, and 59.4 grams of heroin were purchased during the undercover operations.
“First I want to say I am thankful this exposure did not cause harm to any of our officers. This incident is a vivid reminder of the extreme dangers of fentanyl. The risk is not only to the public, who may not be aware that the substance they are handling is fentanyl, but also to law enforcement who are desperately trying to stem the flow of this horrific substance into our communities,” said Sheriff Dan Coverley.
Rojas and Thomas were transported to DCSO Minden Jail where they are presently detained facing three counts of trafficking a controlled substance, one count of sales of a controlled substance, and one count of possession of a controlled substance for sale.
The two may also face additional charges from the state of Nevada, the state of California and federal criminal charges. Bail was set at $250,000 each.
Just before 10:30 p.m., just two hours after the exposure, Elges said that the crime scene had been secured and there was no threat to the public.
Officials said the sheriff’s office facilities are all safe open to the public.
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