Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley said the team started experiencing symptoms while executing entry on a search warrant during narcotics bust near Asylum Hill. Inside the apartment, police say they found 50,000 bags of heroin, the dangerous drug fentanyl, weapons and cash. The apartment building stands across the street from Hartford High School.
The 11 member SWAT team had initially set off a stunning device to slow down three suspects inside the one bedroom apartment.
“They use some stunning devices,” said Deputy Chief Foley. “It’s these really loud explosions and flashes that when it happens to you it’s absolutely stunning. You can’t even move for 5 to 10 seconds until you figure out where you are. You become completely disorientated.”
Responders confiscated 50,000 bags of heroin, two hand guns and 350 grams of raw heroin. Three people were arrested on scene.
Foley says the device could have stirred up some of the raw drugs in the apartment. Police believe a drug factory was being run out of the apartment and that the drugs inside were just hours from making it to the street.
“That percussion can cause some powders to become ionized or aerosolized,” said Foley. “Also, sometimes when we enter an apartment, suspects tend to push powders off the table and throw that into the air as well to destroy evidence so it could’ve been a combination of those two things.”
As the SWAT team left, they began to feel sick, experiencing nausea, dizziness, headaches and sore throats. The team was taken to St. Francis hospital where they were treated and released. The 11 Hartford police officers were back on the job today.
Three men were arrested in connection to this case – Ronald Perez, Byron Rivera and Marcus Tyson. The case is being handled by the US Attorney’s Office.