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Inmates, prison workers indicted on drug charges

Cell phones are at the center of a dozen indictments that Georgia inmates and prison employees allegedly used to coordinate various criminal efforts. Most of the allegations involve drug charges and allegations of possession of various contraband substances such as tobacco. Identity theft was also a concern that prompted the initial investigation.

In 2014, authorities confiscated approximately 7,000 cell phones from area prisons. Since July of 2015, they have apparently recovered 1,000. With the help of prison workers -- including at least one who was employed in the kitchen and another who worker as corrections officer -- inmates were allegedly able to smuggle illegal and contraband items into the facility. Aside from drugs, police say that take-out food and liquor were also brought in.

The cell phones apparently helped those involved coordinate their efforts. Certain inmates have been accused of using the Internet access on the phones in order to steal the identities of individuals in the surrounding area. At least one person might have used a cell phone in an attempt to set up the killing of a fellow inmate whom he believed was working with the authorities.

While drug charges in Georgia are typically treated seriously by the courts, the consequences of a potential conviction can be especially devastating for those who already have a criminal record. Since a conviction could possibly mean additional time spent behind bars, considering various defense options in a timely manner is often one of the best courses of action to take. For many defendants, this usually comes down to either fighting the charges throughout the full length of trial court proceedings or negotiating a plea deal with the prosecution in order to achieve the most favorable outcome possible.

Source: 11alive.com, "12 indicted in prison cell phone bust", Valeria Hoff, Sept. 24, 2015

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