RCSD Deputies exposed to drugs during arrest searches
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott announced that two deputies have been hospitalized after exposure to drugs.
Deputy Zaid Abdullah and Deputy Shannon Huffman have both been exposed to a white powdery substance while on duty.
The first incident occurred on October 22, 2021, when Deputy Huffman responded to a civil disturbance by a former employee at a business on Shop Road.
Officials say Huffman came across a white powdery substance in Christopher Wessinger’s (ex-employee) locker, which was later identified as fentanyl.
She was exposed to the substance twice as some of the residue was later found to be on her uniform.
Huffman was taken to the hospital where she was treated for exposure to fentanyl.
The second incident occurred early morning, June 6 when Deputy Abdullah stopped a vehicle with an expired tag on Burnette Drive.
According to officials Abdullah found out the driver had warrants and previous charges in connection with catalytic converters.
Deputy Abdullah opened the glove box with gloves and was exposed to a white powdery substance according to officials.
Officials say the deputy began going in and out of consciousness and was given three doses of Narcan from other deputies before being taken to the hospital.
The substance was later tested and found to be positive for methamphetamine.
“Narcan has saved many lives of those who have overdosed on drugs,’ Sheriff Lott said. “What we don’t talk about enough is the dangers our deputies are exposed to with those that possess dangerous drugs. This is our second close call in losing a deputy.”
Christopher Wessinger was charged with possession of a schedule II narcotic and Vladimir Barva was charged with possession of nonferrous metals and possession of schedule II narcotic.
Both Wessinger and Barva were booked at Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center at the time of their arrests.
Sheriff Lott continued, “The dangers to our deputies don’t just come from firearms. We need more access to Narcan. We have to protect our deputies. No more red tape or excuses. Our deputies lives and health are important too.”
Investigators say this is the second hospitalization of a RCSD deputy within the last year.
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