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The Latest: Officials investigate drugs after inmate deaths

SAN QUENTIN, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on the deaths of two condemned inmates in California (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

California corrections officials are investigating how drugs made it into death row at San Quentin state prison after two inmates died in their cells this week.

A statement from the agency Wednesday doesn’t explicitly link the deaths of Joseph Perez and Herminio Serna to drug use, saying officials are awaiting the results of an autopsy.

The statement says health care staff is increasing outreach and education to inmates about the dangers of drugs.

Serna was found unresponsive in his one-man cell on Monday and Perez on Tuesday.

Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton declined to say what drugs were brought into the prison.

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3: 15 p.m.

A condemned inmate at California’s San Quentin prison has died.

Authorities say 47-year-old Joseph A. Perez Jr., was found unresponsive in his cell Tuesday night. He’s the second death row inmate to be found dead this week.

A day earlier 53-year-old Herminio Serna was found unresponsive in his own cell.

California corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton says investigators are trying to determine whether the deaths are related. She says neither appears to be a homicide, but autopsies have not been completed.

Perez was sentenced to death for the 1998 killing of 46-year-old Janet Daher, who was strangled and stabbed during a robbery of her home in Lafayette.

Associated Press

Associated Press

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