FALMOUTH (CBS) – A Falmouth man is charged with attempted murder after authorities say he threw heroin on two police officers.

Russell Pena, 38, was arrested Friday morning for allegedly distributing heroin and cocaine. Pena’s passenger, 48-year-old Michael Lopes of Mashpee, was also arrested and faces drug charges.

While Pena was being booked at the police station, officers say he began to struggle with them.

“During this struggle he was able to remove a bag of narcotics believed to be heroin from his pants in the area of his genitals,” police Lt. Douglas DeCosta said.

“Pena then tore the bag apart and dispersed the drugs in the air purposely toward and onto the police officers.”

Two officers and Pena were rushed to the hospital after the incident. (Photo credit: David Curran - Satellite News Service.com)

Two officers and Pena were rushed to the hospital after the incident. (Photo credit: David Curran – Satellite News Service.com)

Quick thinking officers subdued Pena and then shut down the air conditioning system to keep the powder from circulating. Officers were not sure if the substance was heroin or something more powerful.

“It’s absorbed into your skin, your eyes, you inhale it, not knowing what it is, very concerning,” said Falmouth Police Chief Ed Dunne.

Both officers were hospitalized for evaluation and then released.

The incident underscores the daily hazards of police work. “Police officers, they never know what they’re going to encounter out there,” said Mashpee Police Chief Scott Carline. “There’s nothing routine and there can’t be anything routine about it because once things start to become routine, they become complacent.”

Pena is now charged with two counts of attempted murder, obstruction of justice, assault and battery, and possession and trafficking of drugs. He was held on $25,000 bail.

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