OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Butte County sheriff's deputies arrested a man suspected of smuggling fentanyl into the county jail, leading to several overdoses, authorities said.
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 sheriff's office said.
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. As of Friday, one remained in the hospital and the others were returned to custody, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Later Friday another inmate overdosed but did not require hospitalization after receiving naloxone, a drug used to treat ODs, the newspaper said.
Investigators determined the new inmate was the source of the fentanyl and arrested him on suspicion of bringing a controlled substance into jail and distribution of a controlled substance, officials said.
The sheriff's office said in a statement that all inmates are searched before being booked into jail.
“However, without probable cause, a court order and assistance from licensed medical professionals, correctional deputies are legally prohibited from physically searching the body cavities of inmates,” the statement said.