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Massachusetts officer hospitalized after exposure to fentanyl, suspect arrested



Police in Massachusetts arrested and charged a man with destroying evidence after he allegedly ripped open a bag containing fentanyl and exposed an officer to the substance, leading to the officer passing out and requiring hospitalization.

According to Chief Roy, on Wednesday, April 19, at approximately 3:30 p.m., a Billerica Police officer patrolling on Webb Brook Road stopped a vehicle with a canceled registration, and learned that the vehicle’s driver, later identified as 65-year-old Charles Lang of Lowell, also had a suspended license.

As the officer approached Lang’s vehicle after learning that his license was suspended, the officer noticed Lang was allegedly attempting to destroy a small bag containing a powdery substance.

The officer attempted to get Lang out of the vehicle to stop him from destroying potential evidence, and a brief struggle during which Lang allegedly tore open the bag ensued. The powdered substance became airborne and was spread across Lang’s hands and also across the rear quarter panel of the vehicle.

A subsequent search of Lang and his vehicle located a small amount of suspected Adderall that required a prescription. Testing of the powdery substance revealed it to be fentanyl.

Upon taking Lang into custody and returning to the police station, the officer involved in the vehicle stop passed out and was transported to a local hospital for evaluation and treatment of exposure to fentanyl. The officer was later released from the hospital.

“This incident illustrates the danger posed by even a small amount of fentanyl that became airborne,” said Chief Frost. “We are grateful that our officer is expected to make a full recovery, but alarmed that such a small amount of fentanyl caused an officer to lose consciousness. This incident highlights the potency of fentanyl and the dangers that are faced by officers if this substance becomes airborne.”

Lang was arraigned Thursday in Lowell District Court on charges of Withholding Evidence From a Criminal Proceeding, Possession of a Class A Substance, Possession of a Class E Substance, Operating with a Suspended License, Attaching Plates, Operating an Unregistered Motor Vehicle, and Operating an Uninsured Motor Vehicle.

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