The processing of a Lorain man into the city jail led to an incident Wednesday night that resulted in three officers and two LifeCare workers being taken to a local hospital after possible fentanyl exposure, police said.
Jarvis Burns Jr., 21, faces charges including drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, assault on a police officer, tampering with evidence and illegal conveyance of drugs into a detention facility.
Lorain police Capt. Mike Failing said Burns was pulled over in a traffic stop for suspected illegally tinted windows on the 1100 block of Tower Boulevard about 10 p.m. Wednesday. He was found to be driving under suspension, Failing said, and was taken to Lorain jail.
According to a police report, a search of Burns’ revealed $1,448 in cash. Further, a strip search at the city jail revealed two plastic bags in Burns’ rear end. One appeared to contain cocaine, while the other contained a powder believed to be fentanyl.
In the report, police said Burns denied there was anything in his rectum, and when police attempted to recuff him, Burns resisted, and attempted to swallow the bags.
He reportedly ripped one of the bags open with his teeth, spraying suspected narcotics into the air and onto himself and the officers in the holding cell. He dropped the other bag and attempted to dump it down the drain in the cell floor after attempting to put that bag in his mouth.
An officer used a stun gun on Burns and handcuffed him. The evidence Burns put into the drain reportedly fell into several inches of water, saturating the suspected crack cocaine and dissolving the other powder, police said.
A LifeCare ambulance was called to the jail, and the two people on the ambulance crew also reportedly were exposed to the powder.
LifeCare Chief Financial Officer Dave Richards said five people — the two on the ambulance crew, two Lorain corrections officers and one Lorain police officer — were taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center for observation, and were found to be OK.
Richards said that exposed items, including uniforms and equipment, were quarantined and decontaminated. Failing said the Lorain Fire Hazardous Materials Unit also decontaminated the jail.
The baggie of suspected cocaine had been field tested and shown positive for the narcotic. The powder was field tested for fentanyl and heroin, testing negative. The report notes there are several types of fentanyl that do not react to the field test the department uses.
Burns was booked into Lorain County Jail at 3:42 a.m. Thursday. He is being held without bond. His initial court appearance 1 p.m. Thursday was continued to 1 p.m. June 6 in Judge Mark Mihok’s court.
According to county Common Pleas Court, Burns pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence, trafficking in drugs, possession of drugs, obstructing official business, resisting arrest, driving under suspension, failure to signal and tinted windows in April 2018 after an Elyria traffic stop in November 2017. He faced similar charges in July 2016 as well.