(LibertySociety.com) – Officials at the Harris County Jail in Houston, Texas, arrested a longtime attorney on November 17 for supplying narcotics to inmates in the jail. Ronald Lewis, 77, is accused of smuggling drug-laced legal paperwork to several inmates during visits to the jail.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez announced the charges against Lewis and gave details about the investigation that began after two inmates died of drug overdoses back in June. The Criminal Investigations and Security Division was created to investigate how drugs were being smuggled into the jail. Shortly thereafter, investigators were tipped off that Lewis was being paid to bring documents laced with synthetic marijuana and ecstasy.
According to authorities, Lewis had been delivering the drug-laced documents to 14 inmates in the jail since July. He was receiving between $250 and $500 for each delivery. Authorities confiscated 154 documents that they believed were laced with narcotics. Investigators are working with the Texas Rangers to determine if Lewis should be held responsible for the overdose deaths. Gonzalez said that Lewis is not the only attorney who has brought drugs to inmates in the jail, but that most “uphold their oaths and work very hard to take care of their clients.”
Eighteen inmates have died in the Harris County Jail this year, many due to drug overdoses. Gonzalez said that the increase in jail overdoses is not isolated to just Harris County. Gonzalez noted that his office was in the process of switching to requiring inmates to view legal documents and letters digitally, which would eliminate the possibility of narcotics being smuggled into the jail through paper. He said that his office would “continue to raise the bar” to keep the facility safe for employees and inmates. Drug overdoses in general have continued to increase in the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that more than 112,000 people died of drug overdoses between May 2022 and May 2023.
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