Sheriff’s Office Says Inmate Death At Snohomish County Jail May Be A “Controlled Substance Homicide”

October 26, 2023

Everett, Police Blotter

A late afternoon press release today from SCSO regarding an inmate death and discovery of drugs hidden in a body cavity of another. Here’s what they had to say.


Snohomish County Jail in downtown Everett.

Just after 11 a.m. Wednesday, a 38-year-old male inmate was found unresponsive in his cell at the Snohomish County Jail. The inmate was housed in a high security male housing unit due to the severity of his crimes. As corrections deputies were releasing inmates for lunch, the inmate did not come out of his cell. The module deputy went to make contact with him and located the male unresponsive. Corrections staff called a medical emergency and began lifesaving measures. Two doctors and four nurses responded immediately and performed CPR for more than 30 minutes. Attempts to resuscitate the inmate were unsuccessful.

The 38-year-old Everett man had been booked into the jail by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office on February 10. He was being held on $2.5 million bail for first-degree murder, four counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, and manufacturing and delivering narcotics.

Following his death, a morbidity review will be conducted. This is a review of the death from a clinical standpoint and is independent of the death investigation, which is being conducted by the Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit.

The identity of the inmate, as well as cause and manner of death, will be determined by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Following his death, every inmate in that housing module was strip-searched and submitted to a urinalysis. One inmate was transported to jail booking for a body scan, which showed an anomaly. Prior to being transported to the hospital for further evaluation, the inmate removed a bag of drugs from his rectum. The bag contained approximately 10 grams of presumptive fentanyl. This remains an active investigation.

“In coordination with the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force, our Major Crimes Unit and the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office we will be investigating in-custody overdose deaths as controlled substance homicides,” said Sheriff Adam Fortney. “Those who bring drugs into our facility and distribute them to others will be held accountable for the taking of a human life. Given the escalating presence of fentanyl in our community, we remain unwavering in our commitment to ensuring a safe, secure, and humane facility, and we will take every possible measure to prevent the introduction of drugs into the jail.”

The Snohomish County Jail is currently in the process of obtaining a full-time drug detection K-9.


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My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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