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Police: Death of inmate at Schenectady County jail drug-related

Police: Death of inmate at Schenectady County jail drug-related

Autopsy reveals inmate had swallowed multiple baggies of drugs
Police: Death of inmate at Schenectady County jail drug-related
The exterior of the Schenectady County Jail in Schenectady is pictured.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

SCHENECTADY — The death of an inmate at the county jail early Wednesday appears to be drug-related.

Samuel Velasquez-Zabala, Jr. was found unresponsive on his bunk by a floor officer at the Schenectady County Jail just before 8 a.m. on Wednesday, authorities said. 

Preliminary autopsy results revealed his stomach contained seven baggies, according to the county Sheriff’s Office. 

While officials weren't able to determine the substance, the bags contained a proprietary stamp consistent with those containing heroin, fentanyl and other drugs, authorities said.

Urine samples indicated Zabala had a variety of drugs in his system, including cocaine, morphine, OxyContin, methamphetamine and marijuana. 

“The office is currently awaiting final toxicology results and the investigation is ongoing,” said the county Sheriff’s Office in a statement.

Following his discovery, the floor officer immediately called 911. Resuscitation efforts started by corrections officers and continued by medical staff and paramedics were ultimately unsuccessful. 

The state Commission of Corrections has been notified and an investigation has been initiated into the circumstances surrounding his death.

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