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Possible overdoses at county jail investigated

  • Metcalf-MUG-jpg
  • Farraj-MUG-jpg

ELYRIA — Two men are suspected of overdosing as they were being booked Tuesday into Lorain County Jail.

Jail Administrator Andy Laubenthal said no drugs were found but based on the symptoms displayed by the two men, both of whom remained hospitalized Thursday, investigators believe they ingested illicit drugs.

“It seems likely it was drug-related,” he said.

Laubenthal said the first inmate to overdose was Sufyan Farraj, 37, of North Olmsted, while he was being booked on a probation violation for drug charges about 1:30 p.m.

He said jail officials noticed that Farraj appeared lethargic and then appeared to be asleep and wouldn’t wake up.

Medical personnel were summoned, and the anti-overdose drug naloxone was administered to Farraj. It initially appeared to have little effect, but Farraj was starting to come around a little by the time an ambulance arrived to take him to University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center, Laubenthal said.

Roughly two hours later, he said, William Metcalf, 43, of Lorain, was being booked for contempt of court when he displayed similar symptoms, including appearing lethargic.

Metcalf also was given naloxone and taken to the hospital.

Laubenthal said the booking area and the prisoners inside it were searched, but no drugs or paraphernalia to administer drugs was found.

Because the two men had been in custody for more than an hour, Laubenthal said it appears unlikely that they were reacting to something they took before they were arrested.

A third inmate also was taken to the hospital Wednesday, but Laubenthal said that appeared to have been medically rather than drug-related.

Drugs have proven to be a recurring problem at the jail this year, including the death of inmate Joseph Boden from an overdose of the powerful painkiller fentanyl March 20 while he was serving a 90-day jail sentence.

No one has been specifically charged with giving the fatal dose to Boden, but Eric King faces charges for allegedly dealing drugs while incarcerated based on information learned by detectives looking into Boden’s death.

King and another inmate, Ben Krugman, were hospitalized after they were found to be using drugs in the jail in June. Two other inmates, Timothy Powers and Robert Faecking, were caught with tobacco and various pills in June.

Laubenthal has said that inmates smuggling contraband into the jail is a growing problem there and at other correctional facilities and wants to upgrade the screening process to include a full body scanner, something that typically costs around $200,000.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.

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