Macomb County Jail inmate dies after snorting substance he got from another inmate, officials say

Nicholas DiFranco jailed on embezzlement, narcotics charges

Nicholas Manuel DiFranco (WDIV)
Nicholas Manuel DiFranco (WDIV)

MT. CLEMENS, Mich. – An inmate at the Macmob County Jail died Wednesday after he crushed up a substance he got from another inmate and snorted it, according to the Macomb County Sheriff's Office.

Macomb County Jail staff members were alerted by an inmate around 4:55 p.m. Wednesday that his cellmate was having some type of reaction.

Jail deputies and medical staff members got to the cell within 30 seconds and administered Narcan to Nicholas Manuel DiFranco, according to police.

DiFranco, 28, of St. Clair Shores, had been at the jail since Nov. 7 on embezzlement and possession of narcotic paraphernalia charges, according to records.

Deputies said DiFranco and his cellmate, a 30-year-old Macomb County man, had ingested a substance they got from another inmate. Investigators said the inmates crushed up and snorted the substance before going to sleep.

The 30-year-old cellmate said he woke up and heard DiFranco having some type of medical issue, so he alerted deputies.

Both inmates were taken to a nearby hospital in an ambulance. DiFranco died at the hospital, deputies said. The 30-year-old man is still being treated, police said.

The 30-year-old man has been in the jail since Oct. 24 on charges of possession of analogues, unlawful driving away of an automobile and retail fraud, police said.

"The drug epidemic in Macomb County continues to be on the rise," Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said. "Unfortunately, this epidemic does not cease at the walls of the Macomb County Jail. On a daily basis, 60-65 percent of our inmate population receives some type of medication, 30-60 inmates are on a detoxification protocol and 35-50 percent of our inmate population have a history of drug use. A large percentage of the inmates continue to seek out narcotics under any means necessary while incarcerated. My staff and I are constantly reviewing and updating policies and increasing technology in the fight to eliminate contraband entering into our facility."

There are 1,042 inmates at the jail and 21 percent of them have drug charges, deputies said.

Macomb County investigators said they are continuing to look into what the substance was and how it was obtained by the inmates.

"Macomb County Sheriff’s personnel acted quickly and responded appropriately to this incident," a release from the department said.

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