Airborne Fentanyl Shuts Down Cumberland County Jail For Hours

May 5, 2018

The Cumberland County Jail was shut down for a couple of hours Friday, and officers taken to the hospital after a packet of fentanyl went airborne.

Chief Deputy Naldo Gagnon says officers were booking 29-year-old Brent Gross of Westbrook on suspicion of trafficking fentanyl, as well as prison contraband, when a scuffle ensued, causing a parcel of drugs, allegedly belonging to Gross, to open and release a powder. Gagnon says the powder tested positive for fentanyl.

The intake office of the jail was closed for about two hours for decontamination following Drug Enforcement Agency procedures, and officers were sent for medical treatment at Maine Medical Center.

The rest of the facility was placed in temporary lockdown during the event.

Fentanyl is a powerful pain-killing opioid, linked to a number of overdose deaths. According to Attorney General Janet Mills, 2017 saw 247 out of 418 overdose deaths linked to fentanyl.