Retired Houston attorney allegedly killed two inmates with drug-laced papers: officials


A retired Houston area attorney is on the other side of the law, accused of allegedly delivering drug-laced papers to the Harris County Jail and causing the death of two inmates, according to Harris County authorities. 

Officials say Ronald Lewis, 77, is now facing two charges of having a banned substance in a correctional facility. 

Authorities said Lewis had 11 sheets of paper in his possession when he was arrested on Friday, November 17 at the Harris County Jail. Those papers are now being tested by the Texas Rangers for confirmation of narcotics, officials said.

According to court documents, at least two inmates died as a result of the substances that Lewis allegedly brought into the jail and several other inmates reported having severe side effects.

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A retired attorney is being accused of delivering drug-laced papers into the Harris County Jail and killing two inmates, officials say.  (Harris County Jail)

“The laced sheets of mail were often disguised as legal mail or other forms of legal documents. Inmates would pay the attorneys $200 to $500 to bring in the laced papers,” said Harris County Sheriff’s Office Lt. J Wheeler during a press conference. 

Court documents identified the substance as methoxy dimethyl oxobutane.

“Mr. Lewis visited 14 inmates from July 2023 until November 2023. During the investigation, approximately 154 sheets of paper were believed to be laced with narcotics and confiscated,” Lt. Wheeler continued. 

According to a prosecutor with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, the relationship between the inmates and Lewis is unclear. 

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Lt. J Wheeler, Harris County Sheriff's Office

Investigators say the deaths of at least two inmates in the Harris County Jail have been linked to drug-laced papers that were allegedly delivered by a retired attorney.  (Harris County Sheriff’s Office)

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tells Fox 26 he created a task force to fight crime and dangerous narcotics inside the jail in March after receiving backlash for an increase in jail deaths.

Gonzalez added that the jail has also tightened a number of security measures, including adding three drug sniffing dogs and implementing stricter protocols for jail mail. 

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Harris County Sheriff's Office uniform

Harris County Sheriff’s Office (Harris County Sheriff’s Office)

According to Harris County authorities, 27 inmates died in 2022 and so far, 19 have died in 2023. 

Jail records show that Lewis posted a $7,500 bond on Saturday and, as part of his bond conditions, he is banned from visiting anyone at the jail while the case is pending. 

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