Case Report: High Risk Narcotics Search Warrant / Arrest Warrant
Authors: Dr. John Wipfler and Dr. Matt Jackson
Location: Tazwell County, Illinois
Deployment: Tactical Team pre-planned activation to serve a high-risk search / arrest warrant
Suspect: 30-year-old male who has sold multiple drugs to undercover LEOs, including fentanyl and methamphetamine. He may possibly be dealing carfentanil.
Weight: 140 pounds
Medical hx: unknown
Location: small house, in residential neighborhood
The morning of the operation, an undercover officer (U/C) arranged to make a large ‘buy’, with the arrest to be made soon after, either at the home or nearby. The final determination would be made by the tactical team leader after discussion with the U/C.
One tactical physician was assigned to accompany the arrest team. Normally deployed in teams of 2, the timing of the mission prevented other TEMS providers from assisting. Goals were to provide tactical emergency medical support (TEMS) in operations to apprehend the suspect, as well as for the team searching the target residence which was known to contain fentanyl, carfentanil, heroin, and other drugs. The suspect was known to have access to weapons, including pistols and possibly an AK-47 rifle.
The raid van team and tactical physician stationed initially at a nearby pet grooming business. The suspect left his residence to meet with U/C at a gas station. The raid van then moved to the gas station to intercept the suspect’s vehicle. When the suspect arrived, a marked patrol vehicle pulled in behind with lights on. The arrest team exited the van and successfully apprehended the suspect. Once the suspect and scene were secured, the tactical physician exited the raid van accompanied by an LE escort. A brief evaluation of team members was performed, followed by a pre-incarceration evaluation of the suspect. He denied being injured and had no physical complaints. He was interrogated briefly at the scene and then was turned over to other LEOs to transport him to jail. The tactical team members boarded their vehicles and went to the suspect’s residence to execute the search warrant. Entry was made via the garage and main doorway. Full PPE including APRs (air-purifying respirators) were worn by the entry team to prevent inadvertent exposure to any chemical hazards. A thorough search was conducted. No other subjects were found inside the residence. Multiple weapons and drugs were removed from the premises as evidence. No medical issues arose. The team left the target location to return to headquarters for debriefing.
Medical Threats identified and briefed prior to mission:
- Environmental: extreme cold weather, ice/snow hazards.
- Toxins: Potential for exposure to fentanyl, carfentanil, heroin, and methamphetamine
- Suspect known to be armed, and to have firearms in home
- Unknown explosive or other potential hazards
Prevention/Mitigation steps taken by TEMS provider:
- Relayed medical threats to SWAT command, who had already engaged the US Army CST (Civilian Support Team) Peoria, IL, for decon if hazardous exposures occurred.
- Performed briefing of the entire team on opioid exposure hazards, symptoms of intoxication, and plans for treatment if exposures occurred was provided prior to mission.
- Ensured intranasal naloxone (Narcan) was present with officers on mission, and backup doses were deployed forward in case needed. Parenteral Narcan and other supportive medical equipment were on scene to provide more definitive care if a significant exposure occurred
- Arranged for an ALS EMS transport unit to stand by for mission and assisted with communications with those personnel.
Overall: successful mission! No injuries or toxic exposures.
Tactical officers preparing to deploy with APRs (Air Purifying Respirators) into a building with possible carfentanil, fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine. TEMS personnel are nearby with decon equipment and multiple doses of Narcan (naloxone).
Tactical Team arriving at target house in BearCat, with raid van parked nearby
After completion of the mission, the on-scene TEMS provider evaluated team members for accidental toxic exposure. No tactical officers had symptoms of drug exposure. The suspect was also evaluated and showed no signs of injury or toxic exposure. He was taken into custody, and drugs, firearms, cash, and other evidence were found in the house.