HOUSTON, TEXAS: A retired Houston-area attorney is currently facing charges after being suspected of allegedly delivering drug-laced papers to the Harris County Jail and causing the deaths of two inmates, according to Harris County authorities.
Officials say Ronald Lewis, 77, now faces two charges for possession of a prohibited substance in a correctional facility. Authorities said Lewis had 11 sheets of paper in his possession when he was arrested Friday, Nov. 17, at the Harris County Jail. Those papers are currently being tested by the Texas Rangers to confirm the presence of narcotics, officials said.
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What have authorities said about the incident involving Ronald Lewis?
According to court documents, at least two inmates lost their lives from the substances Lewis allegedly brought into the prison and several other inmates reported experiencing serious side effects, ABC13 reports.
“Interleaved sheets of mail were often disguised as legal mail or other forms of legal documents. The inmates would pay the attorneys between $200 and $500 to bring in the laced papers,” Lt. J Wheeler of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said at a news conference. Court documents identified the substance as methoxy dimethyl oxobutane.
“Mr. Lewis visited 14 inmates from July 2023 to November 2023. During the course of the investigation, approximately 154 sheets of paper were allegedly found to contain narcotics and confiscated,” Lt. Wheeler continued.
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According to Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Smith, who handled the case, inmates were selling them inside the jail and others were smoking them. She said that made it difficult to trace who took the drugs and where they came from.
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“We found out about it through jailhouse calls, videos of lawyers coming to visit their clients and then video-feeding them documents, which they know well and are not supposed to do.” , Smith said.
A task force was created in March to combat crime and dangerous drugs inside the prison.
The relationship between the inmates and Lewis is unclear at this time, according to a prosecutor with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told Fox 26 he created a task force to combat crime and dangerous narcotics inside the jail in March after receiving backlash following an increase in the number of deaths in prison.
Gonzalez added that the prison has also increased a number of security measures, including adding three drug-sniffing dogs and implementing stricter protocols for prison mail. According to Harris County officials, 27 inmates have died in 2022 and so far, 19 have died in 2023.
Ronald Lewis is not allowed to visit anyone in prison
Jail records show Lewis posted $7,500 bail on Saturday, Nov. 18, and as part of his bail conditions, he is prohibited from visiting anyone at the jail while the case is pending. course.
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