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Huge search for contraband unfolds at Angola after two inmates die from drug overdose

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ANGOLA - Two inmates in a maximum security unit at the state's notorious penitentiary were found dead in what appears to have been a drug overdose.

The state confirmed what sources had told WBRZ and the station previously reported first on WBRZ.com earlier Thursday.

John Hatfield, 31, and Kenneth LaCoste, 42, died.  The men were housed in the same tier at the prison, officials said.

Hatfield was serving a life sentence from Southwest Louisiana for murder.  LaCoste was serving a ten-year sentence for being a habitual drug offender.  He was convicted in Orleans Parish and was scheduled for release in 2022.

While not reported by state prison officials in their prepared statement, WBRZ Investigative Unit sources said the two inmates died after taking a substance known as mojo – a synthetic marijuana.  WBRZ agreed not to identify the sources who provided the information. The sources were in various levels of government operations with knowledge of the Angola prison and the situation.

Numerous sources spoke with WBRZ Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto Thursday morning. 

However, state officials said the inmates' cause of death is under investigation and autopsies will be performed. 

The men died late Wednesday, officials said.
In a shakedown of the prison Thursday, small amounts of synthetic marijuana and amphetamines were found.
Authorities said they used 100 correctional officers and K9 teams to search for contraband and found 2 ice pick weapons, 7 cell phones and four phone charges in addition to the drugs. 

Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz


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