jail, drugs, smuggling ring, Houston

Houston Attorneys Accused Of Smuggling Drug Laced Documents Into Jail, Triggering Contraband Scandal

Two lawyers allegedly laced documents with liquid drugs that they allegedly smuggled into Harris County Jail.

According to court records obtained by the Houston Chronicle, a flow of contraband into the Harris County Jail in Houston was allegedly created by at least two lawyers through a scheme that involved spraying letters and other documents with liquefied drugs before delivering them to incarcerated individuals at the jail. According to a search warrant, an unnamed informant said that attorneys constituted “the main source of the delivery” and that the papers or “sheets” were “just laced with something to get them high.”

Defense attorney Ronald Lewis, 77, was arrested after the Harris County Sheriff’s Office intercepted approximately 700 sheets of paper laced with the drugs. Lewis has been accused of sneaking about 20% of the sheets into the jail, even though he only has maybe a few clients, according to the Chronicle. Lewis is accused of using his status as an attorney to pass out laced “sheets” or “dominos” to at least a dozen incarcerated people who were not his clients and subsequently took Cash App payments for the deliveries. The investigation is also interested in a second, unnamed lawyer, but it has also identified 27-year-old Briana Scott as a participant through a sting operation. Authorities then determined Scott to be a liaison for the second lawyer and her client to coordinate the document passing.

Several people have been tied to the “sheets” scandal in the Houston jail. Also, according to ABC 13, Harris County Magistrate Eva Flores says that she believes the scheme was, in fact, widespread.

“It was a widespread operation,” said Flores, who also noted that the two deaths in custody that prosecutors are attempting to connect to Lewis at present do not have sufficient evidence for her to affirm a connection. “I am not going to find causation at this time and even the state doesn’t have that information, at this time. I also recognize if the state does develop that information, they can and will file new charges.”

According to bail documents for Lewis, investigators have identified around 24 people, some of whom are currently jailed and some who have wrapped up their criminal cases as co-actors in Lewis’ case. 

Prosecutors are planning to use one of these men, Henry McCoy, who is going on trial soon, to reveal upon his conviction for a murder charge that he had a hand in helping to get the “sheets” into the jail as far back as April 2023. There have been deaths at the jail, but it has not been determined if the deaths of two men, 30-year-old Ramon Thomas and 32-year-old Robert Terry, are connected to Lewis’ actions. One of the men, Thomas, had his death ruled as “sudden death associated with cardiac hypertrophy,” according to the Chronicle, while the other’s death was ruled an accident. 

There has also been at least one charge of a recently adopted fentanyl murder by delivery charge, which the Texas Legislature worked to make a legal possibility through ruling that fentanyl overdoses could be treated as poisonings, which opens them up to murder charges.

According to Fox 26, on Nov. 18, Christian Rayo died after Michael Barnett allegedly sold him drugs laced with fentanyl on Nov. 16, a few days before Rayo died in custody. Prosecutors in that case are seeking Barnett’s bail to be set at $500,000, while his defense seeks a reasonable amount. Barnett’s bond, however, has yet to be set, and he remains in the Harris County Jail, where he awaits his next court appearance, set for Nov. 28. 

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