ATLANTA - Federal authorities have charged 12 people in an investigation into the smuggling of items into Georgia prisons.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said inmates, former Georgia Department of Corrections employees and other community members were also involved in drug trafficking, extortion, fraud schemes and identity theft.
Investigators said department of corrections employees helped smuggle cell phones and other contraband to inmates in exchange for bribe payments.
At Phillips State Prison, officials said Mims Morris and Jonathan Silver used cell phones to traffic drugs and commit fraud. In a recorded phone call, investigators said Morris spoke about posting on Facebook and buying shoes online. Authorities said Morris even contacted a citizen and pretended to be a credit card company in order to obtain personal information.
In one case, Investigators said an inmate used a phone to call in a hit on another prisoner.
U.S. Attorney John Horn said the charged corrections employees included a kitchen worker and a security guard. He said they smuggled meth, prescription pills, marijuana, liquor, tobacco and even take-out food.
Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Homer Bryson said they have struggled with this problem statewide. Bryson said technology and increased training is in place, but it is a combination of several things that will have to be used to change this ongoing problem.