A drug sting at Stateline on Thursday night resulted in five Douglas County deputies being exposed to fentanyl and the arrest of two California women on multiple trafficking charges.
The deputies suffered symptoms related to acute fentanyl exposure during a buy operation conducted 8:10 p.m. involving approximately 829.1 grams of fentanyl, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Each deputy was administered naloxone and transported via ambulance to Barton Hospital in South Lake Tahoe. All five deputies were treated and released from Barton Hospital early hours of Friday morning.
There was no contamination of the Douglas County Jail or inside the Douglas County court facilities and the county’s Lake Tahoe Administration Center is open.
“First I want to say I am thankful this exposure did not cause harm to any of our officers,” said Sheriff Dan Coverley. “This incident is a vivid reminder of the extreme dangers of fentanyl. The risk is not only to the public, who may not be aware that the substance they are handling is fentanyl, but also to law enforcement who is desperately trying to stem the flow of this horrific substance into our communities.”
Arrested in the sting were Regina Rojas, 35, from Rancho Cordova and Jessica Thomas, 32, of Sacramento. Rojas and Thomas are allegedly a significant conduit of fentanyl, methamphetamine, and heroin coming into Douglas County, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The arrests were the conclusion of a five-month long investigation into trafficking activities by the pair by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Street Enforcement Team working in conjunction with the FBI Safe Streets Task Force.
During the course of the investigation, the Street Enforcement Team and the FBI made a number of undercover purchases of fentanyl, methamphetamine, and heroin from Rojas and Thomas in Douglas County. In addition to the fentanyl, officers also purchased 1,722.8 grams of methamphetamine, and 59.4 grams of heroin during the undercover operations.
Rojas and Thomas were both booked into the DCSO Minden Jail. They have each initially been charged with three counts of trafficking in a controlled substance, one count of sales of a controlled substance, and one count of possession of a controlled substance for sale. Additional Nevada criminal charges are pending. Their bail was set at $250,000 each.
Rojas and Thomas may also face Federal and California State criminal charges.
Assisting the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office with this incident were the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District, the East Fork Fire Protection District, the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, the Eldorado County Sheriff’s Office, the Reno DEA Office, the Reno Police Department, the Carson City Sheriff’s Office, and the Carson City Fire Department.
Deputies at the Douglas County Lake Tahoe substation will be OK after being exposed to fentanyl around 8 p.m. Thursday, Undersheriff Ron Elges said.
First responders from several Lake Tahoe agencies were called to the Lake Tahoe substation of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office around 8 p.m. Thursday.
“We had deputies exposed to fentanyl,” Elges said. “Some are being treated at Barton Hospital. Others were treated at the scene. Everybody is OK. There is no risk to the public.”
Agencies from around the region responded with Narcan, which is used to counteract an opiate overdose, according to news reports.