7 people charged in connection with K2 overdoses in N.Y. prison

Deputies discovered that people outside the prison sent laced items into the facility via the mail


By Anne Hayes
syracuse.com
        
DeWitt, N.Y. — Seven people have been charged in connection with multiple overdoses in the Jamesville Correctional Facility in April, the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday.

On April 19, five inmates were hospitalized after overdosing on K2, said Sgt. Jon Seeber, a sheriff’s office spokesman. One inmate was found unresponsive in his cell but revived, he said.

K2, also known as spike and synthetic marijuana, contains a synthetic version of THC made from chemicals.

Jamesville Correctional Facility has adjusted its policies and procedures to prevent this type of contraband from entering the prison again.
Jamesville Correctional Facility has adjusted its policies and procedures to prevent this type of contraband from entering the prison again. (Michelle Breidenbach)

Deputies discovered that people outside the prison sent K2-laced items into the facility, Seeber said.

The synthetic marijuana is believed to have entered the facility by mail, Seeber said. The Sheriff’s Office discovered that pieces of mail were being sprayed with liquified K2. Inmates would eat the paper products sprayed with the drug in order to feel the effects, Seeber said.

Four women were arrested for sending the K2 into the prison, Seeber said.

Aida Rivera, 42, of Liverpool and Selena Velasquez, 20, of Syracuse were charged with first-degree promoting prison contraband and fifth-degree conspiracy, Seeber said. A 17-year-old female from Syracuse and Nicole Kenny, 32, of Syracuse were charged with fifth-degree conspiracy, he said.

Three inmates were also charged: Wilburt Riddick, 19, Dwight Vaughn, 32, and James Dunn, 28. They were charged with first-degree promoting prison contraband and fifth-degree conspiracy, Seeber said.

All five inmates who overdosed survived, Seeber said. All the inmates resided in the same housing unit.

The unresponsive male was discovered at 7:42 p.m. April 19 in his cell, Seeber said.

Medical staff administered naloxone, which is used to reverse opioid overdoses, and the inmate regained consciousness, Seeber said. The effectiveness of the naloxone implies the K2 could have been laced with an opioid.

K2 in its liquid form is difficult to detect as it is colorless and odorless. This made it easy for the substance to be sprayed on mail and get through security, Seeber said.

No correctional officers are suspected of having any involvement in the conspiracy, Seeber said.

The facility has adjusted its policies and procedures to prevent this type of contraband from entering the prison again, Seeber said.

Synthetic cannabinoids, such as K2, have a more powerful effect on the brain than marijuana. They can cause nausea, anxiety, paranoia, brain swelling, seizures, hallucinations, aggression, heart palpitations, and chest pains, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The composition of synthetic cannabinoids can also vary significantly, Seeber said. The concentration of the active ingredients can differ between batches or even within the same batch, Seeber said.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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