Officials: 4 Santa Clara County inmates overdose on unknown illicit drug

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The Santa Clara County Jail was on lockdown Wednesday afternoon after officials say four inmates overdosed on an unknown drug. They tell us three of the four inmates have been released and are back in jail.

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The inmates, being held in the older south wing of the main jail, were taken to hospitals around 12:30 p.m., were the victims of a suspected drug overdose.

"We have crime scene investigation in there," said Sgt. Richard Glennon of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office. "They will interview any inmates in the area. All these inmates will also be interviewed to figure out what was ingested."

What it was, and how it got into jail is still unknown. The investigation forced a lockdown for several hours.

Jail reform advocates were disheartened to hear about the incident.

Otto Lee is a former member of the Blue Ribbon Commission that investigated the jail. He says it's understaffed. "We believe it has something to do with the fact that the periodic cell check that used to take place more frequently, unfortunately, has not been conducted as frequently as it used to be," he said. "The safety check of the cell is not only for the officers who work there but also for fellow inmates as well."

In its latest budget, the sheriff's office received funding to install body scanners in the jail. Glennon says that should help. "They'll be similar to the body scanners at the airport, so we will be able to detect some of these substances."

The inmates in this case were being held in medium security and protective custody. The investigation will determine if they now face additional charges.
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