'Likely overdose' cause of Vt. man's death in Mass. jail

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GREENFIELD, MASS. — The death of a Jamaica, Vt., man while in the Franklin County Jail and House of Correction in Greenfield was most likely an overdose, according to information from the Northwestern District Attorney's Office.

Ian Biercuk, 35, was arrested by the Massachusetts State Police following a traffic stop on Interstate 91 at approximately 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12.

Biercuk was driving a vehicle with an expired registration, and his driver's license was suspended. He also had a pending arrest warrant out of Greenfield District Court. A search of Biercuk's vehicle turned up 21 used and unused wax baggies suspected of containing heroin and heroin residue, stated an email from Mary Carey, the communications director for the Northwestern District Attorney's Office in Northampton. A passenger in Biercuk's vehicle told troopers that they were returning from Holyoke, where they had gone to purchase heroin.

An autopsy conducted by the Medical Examiner's Office revealed no trauma, injuries or other obvious causes of death, wrote Carey.

"A preliminary toxicology screen was positive for narcotics, including fentanyl," she wrote. "At this time, Biercuk's death is being investigated as a likely overdose, although the Medical Examiner's Office will determine the official cause of death."

According to the email, Biercuk's bail was set at $5,100 by an on-call assistant clerk magistrate following his arrest. Because Biercuk didn't make the bail, he was transported to Franklin County Jail and House of Correction to await arraignment on Oct. 15. During a cell check around 4:45 p.m. on Oct. 12, a corrections officer discovered Biercuk unresponsive on his bunk bed, wrote Carey. Officers and medical personnel performed CPR on Biercuk until an ambulance arrived to transport him to Baystate Franklin Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.

The investigation into Biercuk's death is being conducted by the Massachusetts State Police Detectives Unit attached to the Northwestern District Attorney's Office.

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