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New details emerge in seventh Rikers Island fatality

The seventh detainee to die on Rikers Island this year succumbed to a possible drug overdose after his housing area was left understaffed, The Post has learned.

Anibal Carrasquillo, 39, was found unresponsive in his cell at the George R. Vierno Center just before 1 a.m. Monday while staffers were conducting their nightly “lock-in,” or the time all detainees are secured inside their cells for the night, records show.

Medical staff used two doses of Narcan, which is used to reverse opioid overdoses, on Carrasquillo, but he could not be revived and was pronounced dead about a half-hour later, according to jailhouse sources and records.

Fentanyl, a highly potent and deadly opioid, has been “circulating” through the jail, sources noted, and it’s been difficult to root out because of the agency’s ongoing staffing crisis, which has limited the DOC’s ability to conduct searches.

Sources pointed out that lock-ins typically happen every day at 10 p.m. and to have one being conducted after midnight is an aberration and shows there wasn’t enough staff in the housing area to get it done earlier.

Inmate Anibal Carrasquillo apparently died from a Fentanyl overdose at Rikers Island.
ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images
In this May 17, 2011 file photo, a New York City Department of Corrections bus passes a sign near the gate at the Rikers Island jail complex in New York. New York City officials have unveiled reforms they claim add up to a groundbreaking ban on solitary confinement on Rikers Island.
The Department of Correction recently closed the Otis Bantum Correctional Center over staffing issues.
AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File
A rally and protest was held near City Hall today to push for the closing Rikers Island jail.
Sixteen inmates died at Rikers Island in 2021.
Gregory P. Mango

In addition, Carrasquillo had just transferred to the GRVC from the Otis Bantum Correctional Center on Friday after city Department of Correction Commissioner Louis Molina suddenly closed the OBCC, which allowed him to move its staff to the jail’s overcrowded intake unit.

The GRVC, known as one of the toughest facilities on Rikers Island, typically houses the “worst of the worst” offenders, sources said.

“Drugs are everywhere. I think he would still be alive if he was still at OBCC,” a source said of Carrasquillo.

Demonstrators block traffic in Manhattan while protesting deteriorating conditions at Rikers Island on October 1, 2021.
Demonstrators block traffic in Manhattan while protesting deteriorating conditions at Rikers Island on October 1, 2021.
Matthew McDermott
Curtis Sliwa joins hundreds of correction officers outside Rikers Island to demand better working conditions for officers working in the jail, Eric Adams sent a representative to speak on his behalf and she was boo’d at with chants of “he’s not here”
Inmate Anibal Carrasquillo recently transferred from the Otis Bantum Correctional Center after it was shut down.
Dennis A. Clark

At least two other detainees have also died of possible drug overdoses so far this year and another died by suicide. A Board of Correction probe found staffing issues contributed to three additional deaths earlier in the year.

A total of sixteen people died in custody in 2021, more than in 2019 and 2020 combined and the most fatalities since 2016.

Carrasquillo had been at Rikers Island since 2019, when he was arrested that September for allegedly mugging two people in Brooklyn and getting caught with a kitchen knife, crack and a crack pipe, court records show.

People hold signs with the names of the 20 people who have died at the Rikers Island jail facility in from of the offices of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
People hold signs of inmates who recently died at Rikers Island outside the offices of the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York on May 17, 2022.
EPA/JUSTIN LANE

He was accused of stealing a person’s makeup bag and snatching another person’s wallet, which contained $15, credit cards and other personal information.

When reached by e-mail, his lawyer declined comment to The Post, saying he was on vacation until June 23.

Relatives for Carrasquillo could not be reached, and the DOC didn’t return a request for comment.

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