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Four Monroe County Jail inmates sickened by unknown source, drug-laced mail suspected

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The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is investigating what its officials are describing as an unknown medical condition that affected four inmates at the county jail on Wednesday afternoon.

Authorities said that deputies responded to the third floor of the jail for a report of two inmates who were incoherent and lethargic, and then noticed two more inmates on the same floor with similar symptoms.  
The Monroe County Jail currently charges more for inmates to make a phone call than almost anywhere in the state. - PHOTO BY DAVID ANDREATTA
  • PHOTO BY DAVID ANDREATTA
  • The Monroe County Jail currently charges more for inmates to make a phone call than almost anywhere in the state.


While running in response to the emergency, one deputy fell and suffered a head injury, becoming unconscious, authorities said.

Altogether, four inmates and the deputy were taken to area hospitals with non-life threatening conditions. The county jail was placed into lockdown, and a search of the jail is underway.

Officials said the preliminary investigation leads them to believe a substance may have gotten into the jail through a piece of mail. They say that can occur through a synthetic liquid that is absorbed by paper, and then dries, leaving little to no trace.

The Sheriff’s Office says it does have several screening procedures for each piece of mail. It also notes that it is obligated by law to provide mail to inmates and is working with the New York State Commission of Correction to identify what adjustments can be made to mail procedures.



Authorities are still trying to determine the source of whatever sickened the inmates.

Randy Gorbman is the news director at WXXI News, a media partner of CITY. He can be reached at rgorbman@wxxi.org.

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