Substance in letter sickens jail deputy

Sep 9, 2019

Monroe County Jail.
Credit James Brown WXXI

A Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy is out of the hospital after being sickened Sunday when he came in contact with a substance found in an inmate’s letter at county jail. 

Capt. James McGowen said the mail was from a lawyer to their client but would not reveal either name. 

“There’s a stamp the attorneys in Rochester know how to properly notate that so we know that when it’s coming in,” said McGowen. “And we know what organizations are considered legal organizations and which organizations are not.”

He said the Sheriff's Office has been in contact with the inmate’s attorney and is investigating who put the substance in the envelope. 

McGowen said the deputy didn’t see the substance, but his heart rate and blood pressure increased after opening the letter, and he became lightheaded. He was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital for observation and was released later that day.

McGowen said it’s normal for contraband to be mailed to the jail.

“You’ll find drugs, illicit drugs in there, anything from strips of oxy to substances treated on the envelope, there’s a whole wide range of things people can put on there, unfortunately,” said McGowen.

The Monroe County Crime Lab is examining the substance. McGowen says it could take days or weeks to find out what it is.