LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Two men are charged in the drug overdose death of a Lancaster County Prison inmate, but some are questioning how the inmate was able to get the drugs in the first place.
Detectives say Erle Carrion-Cruz had access to trash receptacles outside of the prison as part of a trustee program. Court documents reveal that in late March, while using prison phones, Carrion-Cruz coordinated with Jamie Franco-Quinoes and Christopher Franco-Robles to have fentanyl dropped in one of the trash receptacles.
Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said Carrion-Cruz was then able to sneak the drugs back into the prison. Carrion-Cruz later died from an overdose, an autopsy found.
“We’re fortunate this didn’t go beyond this,” Stedman said. “We’re also fortunate, quite frankly, that there wasn’t something like a weapon that was put in the trash can and then taken into the prison and stored and or used.”
Prison warden, Cheryl Steberger, acknowledged that minutes passed before Carrion-Cruz was searched during his return to the prison, which allowed him to smuggle the drugs.
“He was searched,” she said. “It was just not in what we have now changed to a timely fashion. We also no longer allow our trustee inmates outside of the facility.”
Steberger said inmates now face immediate strip searches when coming back into the prison. She also said in a few weeks, inmates will go through body scanners the prison recently purchased.
Franco-Quinoes, 49, and his son Franco-Robles, 20, are charged with felony drug delivery resulting in death.
Police say another inmate also took the drug but survived and is cooperating with police.