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Dozens of Georgia correction officers face criminal charges

Cell phones are the center of years-long federal investigation into possible illegal behavior in some of Georgia's state prisons. Approximately 50 prison correction officers were arrested on criminal charges of accepting bribes and participating in drug trafficking activities. Most recently, a number of corrections officers and inmates were indicted on these allegations.

The investigation was launched two years ago by the FBI due to rising suspicions that inmates were somehow organizing criminal activities while still incarcerated. Although the investigation apparently uncovered tobacco and alcohol smuggling by some of the correction officers and other prison staff, one of the Bureau's main focuses was on contraband cell phones. Investigators suspected that cell phone access was what enabled some of the incarcerated individuals to contact other people outside of the facility.

Charges for drug trafficking pertained primarily to the most recent round of arrests, in which the 50 former and current correction officers were accused of protecting large drug shipments in exchange for bribes. The officers were not employed at a single facility; instead, the arrests were spread across nine different prisons. Although it was a somewhat extensive investigation, investigators cautioned the public to remember that the majority of employees in Georgia state prisons are dedicated to their job.

Each and every defendant has the legal right to be considered innocent even in the face of otherwise severe criminal charges. While early information regarding investigations or previous arrests or convictions might exist, none of this should have any influence on the criminal court process of current charges. Because of this, it is also well advised for defendants who are facing charges to prepare separate defense strategies than they might have utilized in the past.

Source: bignewsnetwork.com, "FBI probe unearths drug trafficking scams in Georgia prisons", Feb. 12, 2016

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