Durham inmate who died last year may have received drugs in jail, warrant says

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Durham County investigators believe an inmate who died from a drug overdose last May may have gotten drugs from another inmate. 

Warrants for second-degree murder show heroin and fentanyl made it into the Durham County Jail, killing DeShawn Evans, 23.  

Tuesday, Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead called the incident, which happened under previous leadership, unfortunate.  

He declined CBS 17’s request for an on-camera interview.  

The sheriff’s office me a statement saying:

“In Sheriff Birkhead’s ‘First 100 Days’ plan he stated that he would spend a significant amount of time in every division of the Sheriff’s Office listening, learning and evaluating the operations of the agency, this includes the Durham County Detention Facility.

Unfortunate incidents have occurred in the detention center in recent years. Since taking office, Sheriff Birkhead has been working with staff to review all existing policies and procedures, and identify areas in need of strengthening in an effort to mitigate risk and create as safe an environment as possible.

This process is ongoing and Sheriff Birkhead will present the findings to detention staff, County Commissioners and the community when complete.”

According to the warrant, there is video showing Evans sweeping and cleaning the prison pod before stopping close to an inmate’s cell and leaning down several times as if to pick up something.  

The sheriff office tells CBS 17 video from inside the facility is part of the investigation and cannot be released for security reasons.  

North Carolina SBI officials later found a small pink piece of paper in Evans’ cell with white powder residue on it, later discovered as heroin and fentanyl. 

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