According to Harris County officials, a retired Houston attorney has been accused of allegedly delivering drugs-laced documents to the Harris County Jail, causing two inmates to die.
Officials have confirmed that Ronald Lewis, aged 77, faces two charges for possessing a prohibited substance inside a correctional institution.
Lewis was found to have 11 sheets of paper when he arrived at the Harris County Jail on Friday, November 17, according to authorities. Texas Rangers are testing the papers to confirm if they contain narcotics.
Documents filed in court show that at least two prisoners died from the effects of substances Lewis is alleged to have brought into the prison. Several other prisoners also reported severe side-effects.
The laced mail was often disguised as legal or other legal documents. “Inmates would pay attorneys $200-$500 to bring the laced documents in,” said Harris County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant J Wheeler at a press briefing.
In court documents, the substance was identified as methoxydimethyloxobutane.
Mr. Lewis visited fourteen inmates between July 2023 and November 2023. During the investigation approximately 154 pieces of paper that were laced with drugs and confiscated, Lt. Wheeler said.
A prosecutor at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office said that the relationship between Lewis and the inmates is unclear.
Fox 26 reports that Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez created a taskforce to combat crime and dangerous drugs inside the jail after receiving criticism for an increased number of jail deaths in March.
Gonzalez said that the prison has tightened up a number security measures including adding three drugs sniffing dogs, and implementing stricter protocol for jail mail.
Harris County authorities report that 27 inmates have died since 2022, and 19 so far in 2023.
Lewis posted a bond of $7,500 on Saturday. As part of the bond conditions, Lewis is not allowed to visit anyone in the jail until the case is resolved.