Hamilton County Sheriff's search for answers on heroin deaths in - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Hamilton County Sheriff's search for answers on heroin deaths in jail

Chief Deputy Mark Schoonover says the jail has done everything in their power to prevent addicts from smuggling in heroin (Photo: FOX19 NOW/Lisa Hutson) Chief Deputy Mark Schoonover says the jail has done everything in their power to prevent addicts from smuggling in heroin (Photo: FOX19 NOW/Lisa Hutson)
HAMILTON COUNTY, OH (FOX19) -

Random K-9 searches and a $250,000 body scanner have not kept drugs especially heroin from getting in the Hamilton County Jail. Now another inmate is dead from an overdose and the sheriff's department is looking for answers.

Chief Deputy Mark Schoonover says he takes it personally when an inmate dies in his jail but with heroin so strong in small amounts and so prevalent, it is proving difficult to keep out of the hands of inmates.

More than 9,000 heroin addicts came through the Hamilton County Jail last year. One of them was 50-year-old Daniel Davis convicted of murder. Last week, guards found Davis dead in his cell. The coroner ruled his death a heroin overdose.

[Coroner: Man found dead in Hamilton County Jail overdosed on heroin]

"The inmates barter all the time. We try to discourage that but you know it's human nature so most likely he purchased that from someone,” said Major Charlene McGuffey, head of the Hamilton County Jail.

"A lethal dose of heroin will come in a package about the size of this sweet and low packet,” said Schoonover

Chief Deputy Mark Schoonover says the jail has done everything in their power to prevent addicts from smuggling in heroin. He says many of them swallow balloons filled with the drug then regurgitate or pass the balloon once inside the jail. The sheriff's office says they will now invest in more training and stricter search procedures to make sure this doesn't happen again.

"We have found drugs. We continue to find any drugs that are inside this facility. What I can tell you is when we do find drugs, it's few and far between and that tells us with our constant vigilance there is not that much drug getting into the jail,” said McGuffey.

"If I could pin point how these drugs are getting in, I would stop that. I will say I think this agency has taken every measure we believe we possibly can to deter and to stop something like that from happening,” said Schoonover.

Chief Deputy Schoonover says he does not believe any deputies or jail personnel are responsible for smuggling in heroin. He says if they catch even the slightest allegation of misconduct, it is thoroughly investigated.

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