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18 Pa. cops hospitalized after possible fentanyl exposure

During the raids, Pittsburgh SWAT officers were exposed to a chemical that became airborne, making the officers dizzy and causing numbness


By Megan Guza and Matthew Santoni
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

PITTSBURGH — Eighteen Pittsburgh SWAT officers were sickened by suspected fentanyl while assisting federal officials on a series of raids in the West End of the city Wednesday morning, authorities said.

Residents awoke to a large law enforcement presence as Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania State police assisted Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security investigators and U.S. Postal Inspectors with serving search warrants and making arrests at three separate locations in Elliott, said U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman Margaret Philbin. ICE was the lead agency on the raids at two houses on Lakewood Street and one on Bond Street as part of an ongoing drug investigation, according to a statement from Acting U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song.

During the raids, Pittsburgh SWAT officers were exposed to a chemical that became airborne, making the officers dizzy and causing numbness, said Public Safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler. Toler said the chemical was "unknown," but Philbin said first responders believed it was fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opiate. No federal officials were affected.

All the affected officers went to UPMC Mercy and were medically cleared, Toler said.

Philbin could not confirm how many people had been arrested as of Wednesday morning, but said charges would be filed today in the U.S. District Court for Pittsburgh.

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©2017 The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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