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Keeping fentanyl out of jails is a challenge. Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone explains why

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Thursday, May 4, 2023 - 2:56pm
Updated: Friday, May 5, 2023 - 8:47am

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Paul Penzone
Lauren Gilger/KJZZ
Paul Penzone

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone took over the office in 2017 after the long and controversial reign of Joe Arpaio, the self-proclaimed "America’s toughest sheriff" and enforcer of SB 1070. 

However, since taking the helm of the sheriff’s office — one of the largest in the country — Penzone has remained relatively quiet. He told The Show that unlike his predecessor, his goal was to stay out of the headlines instead of in them.

But Penzone has spoken out publicly several times this year as reports of overdoses and deaths in the county jails have racked up and footage of inmates being wheeled out of jails on gurneys has hit the news. 

Earlier this month, headlines broke that seven women incarcerated at Phoenix’s Estrella Jail were hospitalized after overdosing. In January, Penzone announced one of his own was arrested for attempting to smuggle fentanyl and methamphetamine pills into the jails. 

The Show spoke with Penzone on this issue.

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