Virginia deputy exposed to fentanyl during stop

Virginia deputy exposed to fentanyl during stop
Byron Hodges

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, VA (WHSV) - A deputy who was exposed to a powerful synthetic opioid during a traffic stop last week is expected to be okay, according to Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson.

The deputy stopped a vehicle last Tuesday for an expired registration. The driver of the vehicle, Byron Hodges, also had a suspended license, the sheriff said.

A K-9 officer then identified possible drugs within the vehicle. As the deputy checked a suspicious container, according to Sheriff Hutcheson, they were exposed to a powdery cloud of heroin and fentanyl.

The deputy was immediately taken to Sentara RMH for treatment.

"We're very fortunate and very grateful that the injuries weren't worse," Sheriff Hutcheson said. "Fentanyl is a drug that you're seeing around the country, where there are people who come in to contact with it and it kills them right on the spot. So, we're grateful in this sense it was very mild exposure."

Fentanyl is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Hodges was charged with possession and manufacturing of a controlled substance for each substance found in the vehicle.

Deputies also found one gun on Hodges and two other guns in the vehicle.

Sheriff Hutcheson said prior to the traffic stop, Hodges was under investigation by the U.S Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for other charges.

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