- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

PENDLETON, Ind. (AP) - An Indiana inmate who died of unknown causes was once accused of being a leader of a drug ring operating out of state prisons.

Pendleton Correctional Facility Superintendent Dushan Zatecky said 32-year-old Justin Addler, of Crawfordsville, died Monday at St. Vincent’s Anderson Regional Hospital. Madison County Coroner Marian Dunnichay told The (Anderson) Herald-Bulletin (https://bit.ly/1R8AfUY ) that an autopsy did not find a medical reason for Addler’s death. She said a toxicology report would take three to four weeks.

She said the autopsy did reveal two latex gloves in cellophane-wrapped bindles containing unknown contraband in Addler’s rectum. She said the gloves and the contents have been turned over to state police for testing.

A federal indictment unsealed Aug. 22, 2012, alleged that Addler and another inmate ran a drug ring from behind bars in prisons in Pendleton and Westville. It said the ring distributed methamphetamine, heroin and other drugs by using cellphones smuggled in by guards.

Prison officials said Addler died Monday after he barricaded himself in his cell briefly before surrendering and being taken to the health care center for treatment of unspecified injuries. He then was moved to a hospital cell, where staff members later found him in an “unresponsive state.” He died at St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital Monday afternoon.

Addler was serving 26 years in prison for dealing in cocaine and six years for carrying a handgun without a license at the time he was charged with being part of the drug ring. He pleaded guilty in 2014 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison with the sentence to run concurrently with his state sentence.

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Information from: The Herald Bulletin, https://www.theheraldbulletin.com

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