Sheriff blames mailing system for Fentanyl exposure in jail

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Sheriff David Gladieux is not holding back after Monday’s situation at the jail.

“I’m going to speak very candid here. I hope this goes national, to be honest. It needs to reach the federal people.”

34 employees were hospitalized after an exposure Monday. A K9 officer was also checked out. Three more employees went to the hospital Tuesday and after 11 needed to be treated with Narcan, Gladieux took a strong stance.

“It’s called priorities and I think it’s time that we as a country get our priorities straight.”

Gladiuex said Monday morning inmates tried to light a piece of spice paper laced with Fentanyl through an outlet. A small fire ignited prompting the inmates to try and put it out with water, creating more smoke and exposing the employees but not the inmates. “The people who were handling it on the inmate side were used to handing it. They may have been affected but they probably enjoyed it.”

Gladieux suspected the drugs came through the mailing. He told NewsChannel 15 in October that he hoped giving the inmates tablets would eventually lead to an end in the mailing system. “It’s the government so it’s going to take forever to figure it out. I mean what do I do? Do I pull the trigger and just do it?”

Now, unfortunately after a life threatening situation, he has called on the federal government to step in. “I’ve already got the tools there in the jail for them to communicate with their family just give me the okay to do it.”

The block itself is decontaminated as of Tuesday but some cleanup is still going on. Gladieux said the situation could have been even worse if it wasn’t for the teamwork including fast response times with the police and fire departments. “We will debrief. There were probably things that went wrong. There were probably things that we’ll take away from this that went right but we’ll learn from it and move forward.”

There is an investigation into the inmates with the drugs and who sent it to them.