Two inmates from the East Feliciana Parish Jail remained hospitalized Wednesday after they along with two other inmates were found unresponsive Tuesday night when they smoked a synthetic marijuana cigarette, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputies checking on the cell area noticed an unresponsive inmate lying in his cell at 8:04 p.m. When medical personnel arrived at the cell, they noticed three inmates in adjacent cells were also showing signs of possible overdose, Sgt. Kevin Garig said.
The four — Peter Taylor, 36; Brandon Schilling, 28; Alton Williams, 37; and Darrell Anderson, 42 — were taken to a hospital, Garig said.
Taylor, who is in the intensive care unit, and one other inmate remain in the hospital while the other two inmates were released.
When investigators questioned the inmates about the cigarette, which contained synthetic cannabinoids, they were told that Shep Garner, 25, an inmate on work-release, brought the cigarette in and gave it to one of the four who were hospitalized, Garig said. Investigators are not sure if Garner brought it into the jail at the behest of another inmate.
Garner will be booked on counts of introduction of contraband to a penal institution and distribution of Schedule I drugs, Garig said.
Investigators are still trying to determine which inmate had the cigarette first, Garig said, adding two are not talking and the other two are pointing fingers at each other.
The four inmates lived in single-occupant cells next to each other and would take a few puffs on the cigarette, wait until the guard was out of view, reach through the bars of their cell and around the single-cinderblock wall where the inmate in the adjoining cell would take it.
After the four were taken to the hospital, investigators searched their cells and found a cigarette in one of the cells, Garig said. They are not sure if the cigarette they found is the one with the synthetic cannabinoids. It will be sent to the State Crime Lab for testing.
The four inmates taken to the hospital will be booked on counts of possession of contraband, Garig said.
He said investigators are searching other cells to see if any more cigarettes with synthetic cannabinoids are in the jail.
“If they can get a cellphone in, they can get other things in,” Garig said. “Every prison has that issue. You just have to stop it as much as possible.”