Drugs Prompt Hazmat Scare at Van Nuys Courthouse

The Van Nuys branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, 14400 Erwin Street in Van Nuys, as viewed in a Google Street View image in February of 2019.

The Van Nuys branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, 14400 Erwin Street in Van Nuys, as viewed in a Google Street View image in February of 2019.

The discovery of an “unknown substance” amid an inmate’s belonging prompted a hazardous materials response at the Van Nuys branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court on Friday before it was determined the substance was a drug and posed no public threat.

The incident began about 1:30 p.m at the courthouse, 14400 Erwin Street, according to Deputy Edmo Luna of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Information Bureau.

A deputy discovered the substance while checking inmates’ possessions for possible contraband, he said.

Los Angeles Fire Department officials described the substance as a white powder.

“Believing there may have been a risk of exposure to inmates and deputies from a hazardous substance, all inmate movement within the courthouse was suspended,” Luna said in a written statement.

Hazmat team members from both the Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Fire Department responded.

“It was determined there was not a hazmat incident, therefore, there was no exposure,” Luna said. “The substance was determined to be a narcotic that was subsequently booked as evidence. Normal operations in the courthouse resumed.”

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