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The Genesee County Sheriff's Department notified media this morning of an inmate death at the Genesee County Jail which took place Friday, July 8th.

42-year-old Nikko C. Gambino of Morrow Road, Covington, died of unknown cause in his cell. Sheriff's investigators at this point believe his death is a direct result of withdrawal from illegal drugs. Gambino also reportedly suffered from "various medical issues."

According to the Sheriff's news release, corrections officers checked on Gambino at 2:12pm last Friday, at which time he made a guesture that he was "OK." Officers report he also uttered some sort of sound, which was taken to mean he was okay.

Fifteen minutes later, officers returned and found Gambino in very poor health, and degrading rapidly. Corrections officers administered CPR to Gambino. He was rushed to UMMC and pronounced dead at 3:05pm.

There are no signs of foul play in the death.

Sheriff Gary Maha said this morning that corrections officers are trained to deal with the symptoms of drug withdrawal.

"When it happens, the inmate is very closely monitored, and consulted by our medical staff," he says. And as far as the indication of being "OK," Maha says Gambino often communicated with jail staff using utterances of no distinguishable content.

Gambino was in the news just two weeks ago for an incident in which he allegedly hid drugs in his lower intestinal tract, for the purpose of smuggling them into the jail and distributing them. Gambino was forced to pass the drugs by corrections officers, and then allegedly reconsumed them immediately after passing them. Sheriff Maha said investigators can't be sure if the possible consumption of fecal matter may have contributed to Gambino's sickness.

"We're awaiting the results of the toxicology report and autopsy," he said. That portion of the investigation could take up to a month. He is hoping for a preliminary verbal report as soon as tomorrow.

Maha did point out the State Department of Corrections still has much to look at.

"They'll come in and do their own independent investigation, with regard to the inmate's history, his medical issues," Maha said. "They'll make a determination whether we were deficient in any of those areas."

Maha was unaware of any funeral arrangements for Nikko Gambino. His wife was notified of his death.

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