North Carolina

Cops left dizzy and numb after exposure to mysterious substance during NC drug search

Maurice Antwan Johnson
Maurice Antwan Johnson PITT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

Police say they found drugs inside a vehicle during a search Monday night, but also something they weren’t expecting to come across.

Four Greenville police officers were taken to the hospital “after being exposed to an unknown substance in the vehicle” and becoming dizzy, with numb, tingling hands, the department said a press release.

The officers had been released from Vidant Medical Center by Tuesday morning, at which time a hazardous materials team was expected to clear the vehicle, according to the release. But police Lt. David Bowen on Tuesday afternoon told The News & Observer there was no update on that process or on identifying the substance.

Fentanyl has become a true health threat to law enforcement and first responders protecting the communities we live and work in.

Police said they found heroin and several pounds of marijuana after they stopped the vehicle driven by 30-year-old Maurice Antwan Johnson, near Charles Boulevard and East Firetower Road. An arrest warrant specified it was four pounds of marijuana and up to a half ounce of heroin Johnson had in a black Audi, according to television station WITN.

Johnson was charged with possession of marijuana and intent to sell marijuana, maintaining a place to keep or sell a controlled substance and two counts of trafficking heroin, according to police.

He remained in the Pitt County jail under $1,000,000 bond as of Tuesday afternoon, according to detainee records.

Medical experts say you have to ingest fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, to overdose. You cannot overdose just by touching fentanyl, and it's possible, but highly unlikely to overdose from fentanyl by simply inhaling it.

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