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Georgia prison employees indicted for alleged law violation

Nearly 50 people were recently indicted on federal charges for drug trafficking. All of those indicted were either prison officers or guards at some point in the past two years and have been accused of accepting bribes in return for violating Georgia state drug trafficking law. The federal investigation was launched after an out-of-state inmate was apparently able to orchestrate criminal activity through the use of a contraband cell phone.

The investigation lasted a total of two years, during which time investigators concluded that approximately 23,500 cell phones were confiscated in a single year. Those particular contraband cell phones were seized in 2014/2015, during which time there were roughly 50,000 individuals behind bars in the state of Georgia. While the use of contraband cell phones by inmates was apparently concerning to investigators, it was not the central focus of their investigation.

According to reports, certain officers and guards in the prison system smuggled those cell phones into the facilities where they worked. In a state where the annual salary for a correctional officer is well below that of the national average, each cell phone could apparently net up to $1,000. Investigators did not reveal the tactics used to determine which correctional facility employees might have been involved in the alleged smuggling ring. Aside from cell phones, those accused of taking part in the smuggling are also believed to have brought tobacco, alcohol and other items into correctional facilities.

An indictment following a federal investigation is no small matter. Supposed violations of both state and federal law can result in severe consequences if convicted, which aside from hefty fines can include significant prison sentences and a criminal history that can follow defendants for the remainder of their lives. Although it can be tempting to wait for further information or possible evidence to surface before working on possible defense strategies, most defendants are well advised to begin in a much timelier manner. Exact approaches can be changed or tweaked as new information becomes available, and a strong defense foundation constructed earlier on can prevent having to start the process over from scratch.

Source:, "Feds accuse 49 Georgia prison guards of taking bribes, drug trafficking", Feb. 12, 2016

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