VALHALLA, NY — Westchester County Police on Wednesday night charged a White Plains woman with passing suspected synthetic marijuana during a July 19 visit to her inmate husband – a substance that sickened prisoners at the jail on several occasions this month.
Ebony Strange, 32, of Martin Luther King Blvd. was formally charged at 8:11 p.m. last night following an investigation by Westchester County Police detectives and members of the Department of Correction Special Investigations Unit.
Strange was charged with Promoting Prison Contraband 2nd Degree, a misdemeanor. She was released pending a July 30 appearance in Mount Pleasant Town Court. The charge could be upgraded pending the results of laboratory tests.
“Westchester County has zero tolerance when it comes to illegal contraband being smuggled into our jail to be used by inmates and prisoners,” County Executive Robert P. Astorino said. “I would like to thank the county police and the Department of Correction for their diligent investigation in getting to the bottom of these recent incidents.”
The inmate illnesses began on July 12 when three prisoners became sick at separate times during the day. An additional six prisoners became ill on July 19 and four more on July 20. All were treated at local hospitals after exhibiting signs of drug use or drug overdose and were returned to the jail the same day.
On Monday night, Astorino ordered a complete search of the entire jail facility to locate any remaining illegal contraband. Teams of police and correction officers, supplemented by narcotics detection canines, swept all cells and common areas at the jail.
The investigation into the recent incidents included a review of visitor logs and security camera video from the jail’s visiting area and cellblocks. Investigators also conducted interviews with inmates, visitors and staff.
Strange was taken into custody at her home last evening and was charged following interviews conducted by detectives from the General Investigations Unit. She is married to Deron Strange, 31, of Port Chester who was charged earlier this week with Promoting Prison Contraband 2nd Degree.
That charge was based on the remains of a burnt hand-rolled cigarette that was found following a search of his cell. Tests are under way to confirm the substance it contains.
An additional five prisoners were charged with Promoting Prison Contraband this week for also being in possession of small amounts of drugs or drug paraphernalia.
In a related development, Correction officers today seized 40 glassine envelopes containing a white powder believed to be heroin that a visitor attempted to pass to an inmate. The inmate and visitor will each be charged with Promoting Prison Contraband 1st Degree, a felony.