Friday, September 18, 2020 Elyria 54°

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No indictment in jail drug case


ELYRIA — A grand jury has declined to indict a Lorain County Jail prisoner who had been accused of selling the powerful painkiller fentanyl to his fellow inmates.

Eric King, 36, had been charged two counts of trafficking in drugs in May as part of an investigation into how inmate Joseph Boden was able to obtain fentanyl inside the jail. Boden, 37, died after overdose March 20 while serving a 90-day jail sentence on theft and contempt of court charges.

Investigators previously said that although they hadn’t linked King directly to the fentanyl taken by Boden, they did find evidence that “King was dealing in our facility.”

No one has been charged in connection with Boden’s death.

County Prosecutor Dennis Will declined to discuss the case or the grand jury’s decision not to indict King, except to say the matter remains under investigation.

Jail Administrator Andy Laubenthal said Friday that King remains jailed on an unrelated probation violation and is due to be released from the facility Oct. 25.

Drugs inside the county jail have been a significant issue this year because of overdoses and drug use inside the facility, although Boden’s death has been the only fatal overdose.

King himself was hospitalized in June along with another inmate after they were found to be using drugs in June. Two other inmates also were caught with drugs that same month.

Two inmates were hospitalized last week after falling comatose while being booked into the jail hours apart.

Both of those inmates, Sufyan Farraj, 37, and William Metcalf, 43, were given naloxone, an antidote for opiate overdoses, after having difficulty remaining conscious and appearing lethargic, Laubenthal has said.

He said that although no drugs were found, investigators believe the two men ingested the drugs during the booking process rather than before they were arrested because of the amount of time between their arrest and when they showed signs of overdosing.

The rash of drug-related events at the jail has prompted Laubenthal to call for the purchase of a full body scanner, which typically costs about $200,000, to help stem the flow of contraband being smuggled into the jail.

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

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