Sep. 28—BRENTWOOD — Investigators say 54-year-old Mark Zraket smuggled drugs into jail before overdosing and dying alone in his cell.
The Rockingham County Sheriff's Department recently announced the cause and manner of death, along with an explanation of events.
According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Zraket's accidental death was caused by "fentanyl and cocaine toxicity."
About 7:25 a.m. on April 30, a corrections officer reported finding Zraket unconscious and not breathing during a routine cell check. Officers and medical staff say they attempted to revive him.
A review of security footage and statements from those at the scene led investigators to the conclusion that Zraket was able to conceal the drugs while in custody and ingest them in his cell.
Zraket, a Methuen native, was being held before an arraignment scheduled for the day he died.
Salem police at the time accused Zraket of stealing a car from the LaQuinta hotel, robbing a bank in Medford, Massachusetts, and returning to the hotel to try to rent a room.
Records show that he was also charged with possession of crack cocaine.
Lifelong friend Jim Garrity, now a lieutenant for the Methuen Fire Department, is named in an obituary alongside Zraket's sister, Tracy Solimine of Amesbury.
He said soon after his friend's death that the two grappled with unanswered questions.
"Everyone deserves due process," he said. "You'd think that since he had been processed and was in his cell there was nothing (dangerous) on him."