OCEAN CITY -- Several Ocean City police personnel were hospitalized after being exposed to the hallucinogen PCP, which they unwittingly found in the purse of a woman detained on drug possession charges.
One police officer and three public safety aides were taken to Atlantic General Hospital on June 15 after experiencing symptoms of elevated blood pressure, dizziness, burning eyes and a racing heartbeat. Analysis by Maryland State Police determined the substance recovered from the purse of detained suspect Leslie Veronica Simpson was PCP, or phencyclidine, according to Ocean City Police spokeswoman Jessica Waters.
Officers were going through her purse because Simpson had asked them to retrieve a telephone number stored in her cell phone. Inside the purse, police found marijuana, other suspected drugs in vials and a box cutter. Simpson, 40, of Washington, apparently had dipped a cigar in liquid PCP and kept it inside a plastic baggie. When Officer Vicki Martin opened the plastic pouch, marked "blunt," that's when she and three others were overcome with dizziness, according to court documents.
A deputy Ocean City fire marshal later responded as a hazardous materials official. When he questioned Simpson to learn what the chemicals were in the vials, she refused to identify the substance, according to police.
Simpson subsequently was charged with four counts of reckless endangerment in addition to her initial charges of marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia possession.