Man charged with smuggling heroin into Hennepin County Jail


A Minneapolis man was charged with smuggling heroin, possibly with fentanyl, into the Hennepin County Jail and giving it to three inmates who overdosed but did not die thanks to quick action by deputies and nurses, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced Monday.

Eugene Olson, 33, was charged with two felonies, second-degree sale of heroin and second-degree possession of heroin, and a gross misdemeanor of introducing an illegal drug into a jail. He is expected to make his first appearance today.

The Hennepin County Public Safety Facility in downtown Minneapolis contains both the county jail and two courtrooms for first appearances. According to the criminal complaint, on Wednesday, three inmates overdosed within a half-hour of each other while in the court holding area.

The first inmate walked into the booth, with a glass half-wall so he can see and hear the judge, and stood leaning against the glass during his brief hearing. At the end of the hearing, he appeared to pass out, sliding slowly down the glass and ending on the floor, unconscious and breathing with difficulty, the complaint states.

Jail medical staff gave him a shot of Narcan, a medication designed to counter drug overdoses. It took a second shot for him to come around and he was then transported to the hospital, according to the complaint.

While that defendant was still being treated, deputies were called to another cell where an inmate was lying on a bench having seizures, the complaint states. The deputies called for medical staff and a nurse arrived and put an oxygen mask on him and injected him with Narcan. When he was stabilized, he too, was taken to the hospital.

Shortly after 2 p.m., another inmate was being escorted from his cell when he told deputies he didn’t feel well and started vomiting. A nurse was called and treated him. Like the second victim, he told deputies he thought he was taking a Tylenol which he received from another prisoner according to the complaint.

Descriptions by witnesses led deputies to Olson. He was searched and six grams of heroin were recovered from his belly button and buttocks. Olson said the heroin was laced with fentanyl and the recovered drugs are being tested, the complaints states.

Olson was in jail after failing to appear for a court date on two felony car theft cases in Hennepin County.  Olson is also charged with third-degree drug sale in St. Louis County.

Eugene Olson Criminal Complaint (PDF)