SOMERVILLE, NJ - Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano said he is beginning an investigation into how contraband entered the Somerset County Jail after a report of five inmates overdosing on drugs in the correctional facility on July 15.
Provenzano said the entire jail is being examined, and the investigation is only in its preliminary stages.
"Based upon the investigation thus far, it is believed that the drug in question is likely a synthetic variety - possibly marijuana," he said in a release. "Further testing and analysis of the evidence is necessary however. It is believed that all of the overdoses are connected."
Provenzano said in the release that they are also investigating how the drugs came into the facility, and the individual or individuals who supplied it to the inmates. Somerset County Prosecutor's Office detectives are assisting with the investigation.
At this time, Provenzano said, one inmate remains hospitalized, and the other four have been returned to the county jail. No one has been charged yet.
"It is standard protocol at the Somerset County Jail for corrections officers to search for contraband," he said in the release. "Any visitor or inmate caught bringing in contraband faces criminal charges. Somerset County has a zero tolerance rule with drugs coming into its jail facility, and those who are apprehended will face additional penalties of being confined and/or an extension of their time in the jail."
Provenzano said they use all resources available to remain drug free in the jail, including random sheriff's K-9 sweeps of inmate cells.
"Our goal at the jail is to maintain a safe and secure environment to protect the inmates, staff, visitors and, ultimately, the community," he said.