HOUSTON – A Houston defense attorney was arrested and charges were filed after investigators suspected him of being a major supplier of dangerous narcotics into the jail, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez launched the jail-based Criminal Investigations and Security Division earlier this year in response to a huge increase in drug overdoses in the jail.
Officials said the lengthy investigation led to the suspect’s arrest, identified as Ronald Lewis, 77.
Lewis was charged twice with prohibited substances and items in correctional facility.
According to court documents, Lewis received money from jail inmates to whom he delivered drug-laced papers. Several inmates reported adverse side effects, and two inmates died as a result of ingesting the substances brought into the jail by Lewis.
Documents show that the suspect engaged in this activity from July 20 through November 17 and met with 14 inmates during this time period -- all inmates whom he was not personally representing as their attorney.
Investigators said Lewis admitted that he would receive payments for his deliveries of papers to the inmates.
During his arrest, he was found in possession of papers, possibly laced with narcotics. Lewis bond was set at $7,500 for each charge, according to documents.
This investigation is ongoing but Gonzalez said there is believed to be other separate, but similar cases involving attorneys supplying illegals substances to inmates.
Over the past week, the Harris County jail has had three inmate deaths.
Gonzalez said none of them are connected to Lewis, but at one of them are believe to be involved in some kind of illegal substance.
The sheriff told KPRC 2 his office is in the process of implementing security measure to try and curb the problem.
“A lot of the mail, will go from traditional paper based mail that may arrive for defendants that may be incarnated and instead it will go to a more digital system,” Gonzalez said.