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3 men charged in connection with July death at the Louisville jail

J. Tyler Franklin

Three men are facing charges for smuggling fentanyl into the downtown Louisville jail in July, which prosecutors say led to the overdose death of a man incarcerated there.

The Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said a grand jury indicted Jeremy Sego on Tuesday with one count of promoting contraband and one count of possession of fentanyl. Prosecutors say Sego brought the potent drug into the jail on July 8 and gave it to three other men. Sego was booked into the jail that day, according to court records.

One of the men Sego provided fentanyl to, 44-year-old Norman Sheckles, was found unresponsive in his dorm unit and was transported to the University of Louisville hospital where he was pronounced dead. Jail officials said at the time that Sheckles was suffering from an apparent drug overdose. Sego and another man also overdosed and had to be hospitalized. A fourth man was revived using the overdose reversal drug Narcan.

“The Office of Commonwealth’s Attorney plans to aggressively pursue these cases as well as any future cases involving persons who intentionally conceal controlled substances to bring them into the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine said in a statement. “The risk to both Corrections Officers as well as inmates compels us to seek direct indictments and high bonds for those who hope to profit from illegal drug trafficking in the jail.”

Sego is set to be arraigned on Oct. 24 where he’ll be expected to make a plea. The two surviving men who received fentanyl from Sego were also charged with promoting contraband and possession, both Class D felonies carrying a sentence of up to five years each.

Twelve people have died while in the custody of the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections in less than a year. Most of those deaths have been due to suicide and drug overdose.

Jail Director Jerry Collins has said cracking down on people bringing drugs into the jail is a top priority. Earlier this year, LMDC announced plans to install two new body scanners and put together a new canine unit with drug-sniffing dogs.

A spokesperson for LMDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the indictments.

In an interview with WFPL News in August, Collins said finding synthetic opiates such as fentanyl is a difficult task.

“It’s very hard to detect if someone has it in a baggie and swallows it,” he said. “The body scanners are very good, but there’s such a small amount that can kill someone and it becomes very dangerous.”

Four people have died while incarcerated at the Louisville jail since Collins took over as head of LMDC in April. Officials suspect two of the deaths, including Sheckles, were caused by drug overdoses.

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