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Inmate found dead in Sacramento County jail cell

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department is investigating the death of an inmate early Wednesday morning at the Sacramento County Main Jail.

The man, identified on the Sacramento County Coroner's Office website as 57-year-old Defei Chen of Sacramento, was booked into the jail March 21 on charges related to felony marijuana cultivation and marijuana sales, according to a Sheriff's Department news release.

At 2:38 a.m. Wednesday, a deputy conducting an hourly visual cell check of the housing unit where Chen was housed with another inmate found nothing unusual, the news release said. About an hour later, at 3:34 a.m., the deputy again entered the housing unit and noticed Chen leaning against the door inside his cell. Upon closer inspection, the deputy saw that Chen had a ligature around his neck, according to the news release. The deputy opened the cell door and Chen fell to the floor.

The ligature was removed and sheriff's personnel immediately started CPR, the new release said. Sacramento Fire Department personnel arrived and pronounced the man dead.

Investigators currently have no information leading them to suspect foul play, according to the news release. The Coroner's Office website lists no initial classification for the death.

The Sheriff’s Department will conduct an inmate death investigation in accordance with department procedures and state laws, the news release said. The Coroner's Office will determine the cause of death.

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