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A new prison death, and two linked to K-2

The Arkansas State Police link two more inmate deaths to K2 one day before taking on another inmate death investigation.

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -

The Arkansas State Police is investigating the death of yet another young man found dead inside his prison cell.

This death comes on the heels of completed investigations into two other deaths.

And all three of these inmate deaths occurred at the East Arkansas Regional Unit at Brickeys near Marianna.

Last year the prison averaged nearly one incident per day involving the synthetic drug K2.

DeAngelo Merriweather was constantly in trouble during his four years of incarceration. Sentenced on drugs and firearms charges out of Greene county, Merriweather would get in trouble for failing to obey orders, trafficking and trading and for being under the influence.

Early Friday morning he was found unresponsive in his single man cell. The Arkansas State Police is now investigating his death.

On Thusday the state police shared the findings of two other inmate death investigations. Both died at Brickeys.

55 year-old Phillip Hardy died on February 4th. The state police investigation...obtained under the Freedom of Information Act...found that a search of Hardy's property "...found a piece of tissue rolled up inside a bowl and inside the tissue contained some leafy substance that appeared to be K-2

(synthetic marijuana)."

32 year-old Devon Lemay died on August 29th. According to the state police investigative report, "…the Arkansas State Crime Lab...concluded the cause of death was through the use of synthetic marijuana."

The investigations into these deaths did not determine how each inmate got K-2 while inside prison. It is either coming in by way of prison officials, by way of prison visitors or it's being tossed over perimeter fences or placed somewhere else where an inmate can find it.

The ADC met with an Arkansas company Friday morning to discuss improving perimeter security.

Cellular Data Solutions is already working with South Carolina's prison system in an effort to keep contraband out.

Changes in the mail policy and the installation of new body scanners are being credited with a dramatic decrease in K-2 incidents in Arkansas prisons this year.

Air date: May 25th, 2018

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