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If you ever wondered what goes on in prisons, an FBI bust last week will provide insight. Nearly 50 Georgia Department of Corrections guards were arrested after a 2-year FBI undercover operation revealed "staggering corruption," reports CNN.
Prison guards provided inmates with cell phones and sold drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. The cell phones allowed inmates to commit crimes on the inside, including identity theft and other frauds. Plus, as if that was not enough, among those busted were two officers from an elite special Cobra unit designed to target drug dealing in prison.
Dealing in Prison
John Horn, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia revealed the indictment to reporters last week. He said that former and current Corrections officers are charged with using their badges to facilitate drug deals on either side of the prison wall. They allegedly trafficked in kilos of cocaine and methamphetamines in exchange for thousands of dollars in bribe money.
The drugs are not a new problem in prison, as evidenced by the existence of a special unit designed to target internal dealing. But because some guards are corrupt, including special Cobra anti-drug unit members, the traditional criminality of incarceration has been supplemented. Enter the tech.
Many prisoners have access to cell phones, not just in Georgia, and most don't use the contraband to commit crimes. They call family and even attorneys, thus avoiding the need to make more expensive calls on less "secure" lines and limited phone use rules.
But the bust in Georgia uncovered another use for prison cell phones that is much more disconcerting, if not unknown to authorities. Prisoners used the technology to commit crimes from inside, including identity theft and wire fraud, and to launder money.
Britt Johnson, special agent in charge of the Atlanta FBI office, told CNN that contraband cell phones in prisons are a tremendous problem. "It makes a huge challenge for law enforcement," Johnson said. "After you chase down, arrest and prosecute criminals and put them away for life, and they continue to direct crime on the streets from their jail cells."
The arrested Corrections officers are being held at an undisclosed location while awaiting trial. Hopefully they won't get their hands on contraband while they wait.