Lab tests find no fentanyl on flyers found at sheriff's office station, officials say

HOUSTON – Laboratory tests conducted on flyers that were found on several vehicles at a Harris County Sheriff’s Office station in east Houston this week found no signs of fentanyl, officials said Friday.

Thirteen flyers were tested after a sheriff’s sergeant said she became ill after removing one of them from the windshield of her vehicle Tuesday

“A few minutes later, she became disoriented, had trouble breathing, had a tingling sensation in her body, headache,” said Jason Spencer, a spokesperson for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. “We also realized the symptoms she was describing were consistent with exposure to fentanyl, which is a synthetic very powerful opioid.”

The sergeant had pulled over, called for help and was taken to the Northwest Houston Medical Center where she was treated and released that day. 

“At that point, our personnel went and collected about a dozen or so other of these flyers left on other employees' cars, tested one of them with a field test,” Spencer said.

He said the test came back positive and the preliminary results prompted authorities to warn the public and other law agencies across the state about the flyers possibly laced with fentanyl.

“We took all of those flyers, sent them off to the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences so they could do further testing in a controlled laboratory environment with a trained analyst to see if they can confirm what this field test indicated to us,” Spencer said. 

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the flyers tested negative for fentanyl in lab tests performed by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences. Officials also received negative results for the powerful painkiller when they tested the clothing, blood, and urine of the sergeant.

“We don’t’ know why (and) we don’t know what caused her to have those symptoms. We know that they were significant, significant enough she couldn't drive safely anymore, but at this point, we don’t know what caused it,” Spencer said.

Officials said they are working to ensure that deputies have access to the most reliable field testing kits that are available.

He said the sheriff’s office does not perform field tests if they suspect someone has fentanyl on them. Spencer said they stopped testing about a year ago because it’s too dangerous for deputies.  

Spencer said if they suspect someone has the deadly synthetic opioid, they’ll send it directly to the lab. The only reason they used the field test on Wednesday was because of the given circumstances. 

It’s still a mystery as to who placed the flyers on the cars. 

The name of the group, Targeted Justice, was listed on the papers, but they said in a statement that they did not have anything to do with it. 

The group believes someone printed the flyers from their website. The organization believes the government targets individuals by using microwave tracking and sonic weapons.

The group Social Justice released the following statement Wednesday:

"Targeted Justice is a human rights organization.

"We stand for the US Constitution and the American values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and the importance of the inalienable rights of the individual. We stand against cruelty, violence and injustice wherever it comes from, even from a perversion of authority. We thus far have a membership of over 500 and are growing. All are victims of a staggering range of human rights violations, and as such, we do not endorse any activity that could endanger or harm another human. We were quite relieved to hear that the officer who allegedly came into contact with a tainted flyer bearing our information, is perfectly fine.

"We are awaiting more information as to who may have printed off the flyer in question from our website, where it is readily available to anyone. And who, if anyone may have somehow put a noxious substance on it for unknown purposes, which we have been informed is a common street drug, common in any police or sheriff's department evidence storage. When an organization puts together an informative flyer it is not logical to scare people away from reading it. We can only assume, this was a desperate move done to censor information the public needs to know for its own safety. In regard to our group being reported as anti-government, it is truly alarming to see people in the press jump to illogical conclusions without consulting anyone in our organization.

"Our core, founding members are spread all over the country and are a combination of entrepreneurs, two Federal workers, one retired, an older legal student on his second career, and other highly educated professionals. I personally spent my career as an intelligence analyst with the National Security Agency, so dedicating one's life to the protection of one's country can hardly, logically or correctly be called anti-government.

We await a full and complete investigation of this incident and support the prosecution of anyone who would harm an innocent person. At this point in time, members Ella Free and Karen Stewart are the only members authorized to speak for Targeted Justice."