LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An investigation is underway after six Hardin County inmates were hospitalized after apparently taking an illegal substance on Sunday. 

Hardin County Jailer Danny Allen says officials believe the inmates may have ingested spice after another inmate smuggled it into the jail.

"I think, possibly, it had something else mixed in it because of [how quickly] inmates got ill," Allen said. 

Allen says 49-year-old Anthony Ernest Johnson confessed to sneaking the substance into the jail in his sock. He allegedly gave the substance to other inmates, but did not take any himself. 

Some inmates suffered seizures. One inmate nearly stopped breathing and turned purple, according to Allen. 

"He got sick, and we were able to clear his airway, and then he was responsive," he said. 

Others became combative hitting jail staff, a nurse and an EMS worker. Four ambulances were called to the jail. Elizabethtown police officers also drove inmates to the hospital.

Johnson was arrested Saturday on a warrant for burglary and receiving stolen property. He could now be charged with wanton endangerment.

"One of these inmates could have died over this," Allen said. 

The inmates who took the substance could be charged with promoting contraband and possibly assault. They were treated and returned to the jail Sunday night. 

Allen says he will know the drug test results in six weeks. 

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