2 inmates die at Jefferson Co. prison on suspicion of illegal drugs

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – Jefferson County deputies said two inmates died in two days at the Jefferson County Jail, and at this time deputies suspect drugs may be involved.

“We are working very hard to keep drugs out of our prisons,” Deputy Chief David Agee said. “No one was assaulted or physically harmed. Everything that happened happened inside their body to cause their death.

On Sunday evening April 10, 2022, Jefferson County Jail staff were notified of an inmate who was found to be unresponsive in his cell. Medical personnel were immediately notified and began rescue measures. Deputies said they were unable to revive the man.

On Monday evening April 11, 2022, prison staff were again notified of an unresponsive inmate. MPs again said bailouts had been administered but were unsuccessful.

Investigators say evidence located at each scene suggests illegal drugs may have played a role in the deaths, but that cannot be confirmed until toxicology reports are completed.

“You have people who use drugs before they’re incarcerated and there’s always that desire that’s there,” Agee said. “They are willing to pay for these drugs, so there is always a demand for drugs in any correctional facility.”

According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, “substantial efforts to locate the source of the suspected drugs are underway. A modified confinement, as well as strategic searches of the prison are underway. These actions, along with other investigative steps that cannot be disclosed, should reveal the origin of the suspected narcotics.

Other preventive measures have been put in place before.

“The amended lockdown essentially restricts inmate movement until we complete that part of the investigation,” Agee said. “The investigation will continue after that, but at this time traffic is restricted.”

Agee said they don’t know what types of drugs were potentially ingested or if the two cases are related, but he said they are working to learn that information.

“We work hard to keep contraband out of our prisons. Unfortunately, the inmates are working just as hard to find a way to get them in,” Deputy Chief David Agee said. “We will continue to increase our level of security to defeat breaches before and as they occur.”

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