TOWN OF DICKINSON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – A weeks long investigation revealed a drug smuggling conspiracy at the Broome County Jail.

Sheriff Fred Akshar held a news conference this afternoon to announce that 4 individuals were involved with smuggling fentanyl into the corrections facility

On February 8th, investigators from both the Corrections Investigation Unit and the Special Investigations Unit observed a visit between the incarcerated Marcello McDonald of Queens and the visiting Ethan Papathomopoulos of Endicott.

Investigators believe that the exchange in contraband occurred during a handshake.

After the visit, McDonald refused a body scan search, which prompted CIU to place him into a special cell containing a toilet connected to a catch basin.

A short time after McDonald entered the cell, a container filled with 7.3 grams of fentanyl was discovered in the catch basin.

Broome County Sheriff Fred Akshar said, “If you are thinking about doing something like this, don’t. If you do, I promise you, you will be caught, you will be arrested, and that I promise you, I will give you free room and board. I have plenty of room, and we intend as a team here to hold people accountable.”

The Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team searched McDonald’s cell, where they found 131 pills including Flexeril, Risperidone, and Zoloft.

Further investigation resulted in the arrest of Ethan Papathomopolous and Alexis Merrill of the Town of Maine for their alleged involvement in acquiring and delivering the fentanyl.

As well additional charges for Justice Marimberga of the Town of Maine who is incarcerated for attempted murder, assault, burglary and robbery.

Marimberga allegedly directed and arranged the entire conspiracy via tablet messages and phone calls.