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Pinellas jail inmate dies from suspected fentanyl overdose, deputies say

Jesse Stout was one of seven inmates hospitalized over the weekend after ingesting fentanyl that an inmate swallowed at the time of his arrest, deputies said.
 
A 37-year-old inmate at the Pinellas County Jail who died Sunday of a suspected fentanyl overdose was one of seven hospitalized over the weekend after ingesting or being exposed to the drug that an inmate swallowed before he was booked into the jail, deputies said. The jail at 14400 49th St. N. in Clearwater is pictured above in a file photo from September.
A 37-year-old inmate at the Pinellas County Jail who died Sunday of a suspected fentanyl overdose was one of seven hospitalized over the weekend after ingesting or being exposed to the drug that an inmate swallowed before he was booked into the jail, deputies said. The jail at 14400 49th St. N. in Clearwater is pictured above in a file photo from September. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Feb. 12|Updated Feb. 12

A 37-year-old inmate at the Pinellas County Jail died Sunday of a suspected fentanyl overdose and was one of seven inmates hospitalized over the weekend after ingesting or being exposed to the drug that a man swallowed before he was booked into the jail, deputies said.

Jesse Stout, 37, was found unresponsive in Pod 6 of the jail about 1:45 a.m. and pronounced dead at a hospital at 3:38 a.m., according to a news release issued by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office on Monday.

Deputies found Stout when they responded to the pod after learning that three inmates had been exposed to fentanyl. Stout and the other two inmates were taken to the hospital.

Stout’s apparent overdose came a day after jail staff responded to suspected fentanyl exposure cases in Pod 5 of the jail’s C Barracks. Jail personnel responded about 6:45 p.m. Saturday after four inmates showed exposure symptoms. All four were taken to the hospital. One said that he’d snorted fentanyl, according to the sheriff’s office.

Jesse Stout, 37, is pictured in a Pinellas County jail booking photo taken after his arrest on Sept. 29, 2023.
Jesse Stout, 37, is pictured in a Pinellas County jail booking photo taken after his arrest on Sept. 29, 2023. [ Pinellas County Sheriff's Office ]

A nurse, three detention deputies and a Largo Fire Department paramedic were also treated for exposure symptoms, according to the news release.

Jail personnel evacuated Pod 5 and searched all of the inmates in the pod.

“It appeared at the time that this was an isolated exposure, and it was contained within Pod 5,” the release said.

Hours later, jail staff discovered Stout and the other two inmates in Pod 6.

Two inmates remained hospitalized Monday and were in stable condition, according to the sheriff’s office. The others have returned to the jail.

Detectives learned that the inmates got the fentanyl from a man who swallowed baggies of the drug at the time of his arrest and distributed it in the jail once the baggies passed through his system, deputies said.

After the second incident, jail staff evacuated and searched all the pods in the C Barracks.

“When detectives interviewed Pod 6 inmates and asked them why they would take the drugs after witnessing the Pod 5 inmates’ overdose, they responded with, ‘because we are drug addicts,’” the news release said.

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Stout was booked into the jail on Sept. 29, 2023, on charges of domestic battery, violating pretrial release, tampering with a witness and resisting an officer without violence.