Drugs Prompt Hazmat Scare at Van Nuys Courthouse
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.”