The Harris County Sheriff’s Office reported that a Texas defense lawyer was arrested for allegedly being a major supplier of dangerous narcotics to inmates in jail, by slipping them papers laced drugs.
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez announced at a press conference on Monday that Ronald Henry Lewis, aged 77, had been charged with two felonies of bringing an illegal substance into a prison.
Gonzalez stated that in March, the sheriff’s office established the jail Criminal Investigations and Security division to prevent the flow of drugs entering the jail. This was after the medical clinic began “seeing more and more patients requiring emergency care for what appeared to be emergency overdoses.”
After two deaths of inmates that may have been due to overdose, Lt. Jay Wheeler revealed in June that narcotics were being smuggled in by using paper “that had been sprayed with or dipped in a chemical compound.”
A month later, an attorney brought illegal narcotics into the jail to distribute among several prisoners.
Investigators found that an attorney visited inmates, giving them papers, which were often disguised as legal documents or mail, and that contained narcotics like ecstasy, synthetic marijuana, and other narcotics. Gonzalez and Wheeler stated that inmates paid $250 to $500 per paper.
Lewis was identified by investigators after tips from inside the jail. A warrant was issued for his arrest on November 9.
“When Mr. Lewis came to the jail on Friday, November 17, our team had everything ready. “They arrested Mr. Lewis, and found him with multiple sheets of contaminated paper that is now being tested in order to confirm if it’s an illegal narcotic,” Gonzalez stated.
Wheeler stated that at the time of Lewis’ arrest, he was found to have 11 sheets of paper which were suspected of being laced with drug.
Wheeler reported that from July to November of this year, Lewis visited 14 inmates. In total, 154 sheets of paper with narcotics on them were confiscated.
Wheeler said that investigators work with Texas Rangers in order to determine if the narcotics Lewis brought into the jail caused the death of a prisoner.
Officials stated Monday that they believe other attorneys may be involved in the narcotics found at the jail, and that the investigation continues.
Lewis is a licensed Texas attorney, according to the State Bar of Texas.
After posting a bond of $15,000, he was released. NBC News contacted his lawyer for comment.