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Mohave County Jail inmates moved as overdose investigation continues

April 20, 2019 GMT

Fifty inmates have been moved from Mohave County Jail as investigation continues into the potential presence of synthetic opioids at the facility.

According to Mohave County Sheriff Doug Schuster, the inmates were moved early Thursday morning to jail facilities in Coconino and La Paz County while at least one housing unit at Mohave County Jail is searched and sanitized.

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Department’s investigation into the jail was launched Tuesday, after five inmates were transported to Kingman Regional Medical Center with alleged symptoms of opioid overdose. The inmates were treated with Narcan, a substance specifically designed to treat opioid overdoses, and each inmate made a full recovery.

All inmates within the housing unit occupied by Tuesday’s victims were searched, showered and given a fresh set of clothing to prevent the potential spread of drug contraband to other areas of the jail, Schuster said.

“To ensure we maintain proper facility security and safety, we are being overly cautious and methodical as we proceed,” Schuster said in a Friday news release. “This is still a very active investigation.”

According to Schuster, the substance suspected to have been used by the affected inmates could be a form of synthetic opioid such as Fentanyl or Carfentanil, each of which has the potential to be hundreds or possibly thousands of times stronger than heroin.

“We have been communicating with the Mohave County Attorney’s Office, the courts and those representing a good portion of the defense bar to ensure none of our relocation efforts have a major impact on closely scheduled court cases,” said Mohave County Jail Capt. Don Bischoff. “We will continue to work together so these inmates’ court cases continue to move along in the criminal justice process.”