Investigators say Cass Co. inmate may have faked overdose

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 6:05 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The investigation continues after a Cass County inmate told jailers Monday morning she was overdosing on heroin which prompted deputies to administer life-saving Narcan.

However, now authorities say the inmate’s story isn’t adding up.

Cass County Jail officials say so far, the only evidence investigators have to support that the female inmate overdosed is her statement.

“Given the circumstances, given the lack of any evidence found to support her allegations, we’re exploring the possibility that this was just an attempt to possibly get herself released from jail,” Captain Andy Frobig with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office said.

Frobig says the first things to happen when a new inmate is booked at the jail consist of a pat-down search before going through both a metal detector and full-body scanner. All steps are done to make sure any hidden weapons or drugs don’t make it inside.

“There’s a lot of body cavities and ways for you to smuggle things in that are very difficult for us to intercept,” Frobig said. “Just the knowledge that somebody is going to get scanned is often times enough for somebody to disclose something to us and turn it over.”

For the inmate in question, Frobig says a review was done of the woman’s body scans from when she was first booked.

“There’s no indication of anything inside the person’s body that they smuggled something in,” he said.

Frobig says it’s not often that drugs get into the jail, but says all of his staff carry Narcan with them at all times just in case.

“That’s the benefit of Narcan. It doesn’t cause any harm to somebody that’s not having an overdose, it just treats someone who is,” he said.

It was around four years ago, Frobig says, when the sheriff’s office started requiring all deputies and staff to carry Narcan with them while on duty.

“Our very first experience with anyone overdosing was a gentleman that, right after he was arrested, he took something that was on his person still and it took over seven doses of Narcan to revive him completely,” Frobig explained. “That took up every dose we had in the building, plus what the paramedics had on them. At that point we decided we needed to have more access and we started issuing it to all of the staff.”

He says depending on final findings by investigators, the woman could face charges for lying to police or for having drugs in the jail. Her name is not being released until the North Dakota BCI’s investigation is over.