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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Six more employees at the Allegheny County Jail were treated and released from the hospital after becoming sick late Wednesday.

It’s believed they became ill after being exposed to chemicals associated with synthetic marijuana. The employees included three guards, a sergeant and two jail medical staffers.

KDKA’s Meghan Schiller Reports:


Meantime, Allegheny County Police say 24-year-old Daynell Henderson, of Pittsburgh, was charged with one count of contraband after they discovered that she brought suspected marijuana into the jail.

Henderson is employed by a company called Summit Food Service, which provides food and other items for the jail’s commissary.

daynell henderson More Jail Employees Fall Ill, Food Vendor Worker Arrested

(Source: Allegheny County)

Police said in a criminal complaint that they conducted a spontaneous search of food service employees on Wednesday, based on an anonymous tip. It notes that as a condition of employment, company employees undergo security and policy training, overseen by the jail personnel. And that employees are subject to searches at any time.

During a search of Henderson, police said they found suspected marijuana wrapped in a bundled sheet of yellow paper.

Henderson has been fired from her job from Summit Food. Another male employee from Summit food has also been terminated, but as of this time has not been charged. A third employee is also under investigation.

On Tuesday, eight jail corrections officers had to go to the hospital after they started sweating and experiencing elevated heart rates during a search of cells in the maximum security E-Pod area.

In a statement released Thursday, Jail Warden Orlando Harper said a total of 15 staff members have been evaluated at the hospital “after exposure to an unknown airborne matter.”

“The safety of our staff, and the inmates, is of utmost concern,” he said.

Sources tell KDKA-TV News the guards inhaled chemicals from K-2, synthetic marijuana which inmates had been using.

Sources said that paper was being soaked in K-2 and then dried before being given to inmates. An informant revealed that inmates in Pod 7-E were smoking or inhaling the substance from the lit paper, although they are not allowed to have matches or lighters.

A shakedown of the cells in that pod was started. That’s when the first group of eight employees became ill. The unit was ventilated and the officers assigned to that unit were given masks for breathing protection.

Late Wednesday, two more areas of the jail were manually searched for additional contraband, and seven other jail staff members got sick.

Allegheny County Police are continuing their investigation into how the contraband is getting into the jail.

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