Albuquerque Journal, N.M.
May 26—An Albuquerque police officer lost consciousness after unintentionally inhaling a “cloud” of cocaine wafting from a suspect Monday night, according to a department spokeswoman.
He and two other officers were taken to a hospital due to the exposure. They have since been released.
Rebecca Atkins, an Albuquerque Police Department spokeswoman, said that around 9 p.m. officers were called to a domestic violence incident in which “an armed and intoxicated” man was touching a woman inappropriately and trying to have sex with her. The woman was able to leave the apartment and call police.
The man, later identified as 39-year-old John Duran, left on a motorcycle but was soon pulled over by officers, put into a police cruiser and taken to the Northeast substation.
“The officer arrived to the substation and was preparing to take custody of the male when he opened the door to the police vehicle,” Atkins said.
“At that time, an unknown cloud of a powdery substance came out of the vehicle, and the officer inhaled it.” She said the officer “began to feel nauseous and had trouble breathing and even lost consciousness” so Narcan was administered. The officer and two others were taken to the hospital, the HazMat team responded, and the substation was shut down for the incident.
Atkins said the substance was identified as cocaine. Narcan is used to treat opioid overdoses and does not have any effect on those who have taken cocaine.
“Initially, they were not sure what the substance was, but based on the officer’s reaction, it was consistent with an exposure to fentanyl, which is why the Narcan was administered,” Atkins said.
She did not answer questions about where the cocaine came from and whether the officers had checked Duran for drugs before putting him into the cruiser.
“Our main concern at this time is the health and well-being of our officers,” Atkins said. “We will follow-up to ensure the incident was handled within policy.”
Duran was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center. He is charged with distribution or possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, criminal sexual contact, and battery on a household member.
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