An inmate in Butte County is facing charges for allegedly smuggling fentanyl into jail, resulting in multiple other inmates suffering overdoses, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Correctional officers began investigating after three inmates began showing symptoms of drug overdose in the early morning hours of January 6. Two of the inmates were successfully treated with Narcan, while the third remains hospitalized. Later that day, a fourth inmate in the same housing unit began exhibiting the same symptoms and was also treated with Narcan. The next day, January 7, a fifth inmate was treated.
Butte Interagency Narcotics Task Force detectives were then brought in to investigate. Detectives identified inmate Eric Robert Rehse (35) as the primary suspect, and believe that he smuggled the drugs in by hiding them in his rectum. Rehse had been arrested on January 5 after turning himself in on an outstanding warrant.
The Sheriff’s Office says that, although thorough visual searches and random searches of housing units are conducted, correctional officers are prohibited from physically searching inmates’ body cavities without a court order and the assistance of licensed medical professionals.
Rehse now faces new charges of bringing a controlled substance into jail and the sale/transportation/distribution of a controlled substance.