The U.S. Department of Justice executed arrests of 46 current and former Georgia corrections officers on Thursday in a statewide drug trafficking operation in prisons after a two-year federal investigation.
The United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia John Horn announced details of the arrests and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s raids at the nine prisons where the trafficking took place.
The indictments revealed “staggering corruption within Georgia Department of Corrections institutions,” said John Horn, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia (a federal organization within the U.S. Department of Justice).
Among those arrested were five members of an elite squad aimed at busting up drug dealing in prison, called the Cobra unit. Also rounded up in the bust were two civilians and one inmate.
The probe found that prison guards and staff were smuggling contraband such as liquor, tobacco and cell phones into the cell blocks for money. Inmates used the illegal cell phones to commit wire fraud, money laundering and identity theft.
Local television news outlet WMAZ states that 49 individuals were arrested and were scheduled to appear before a judge early Thursday. Horn used stern words for the suspects at news conference, calling their actions “troubling.”
“They not only betrayed the institutions that they were sworn to protect, but they betrayed the trust and faith of thousands of honest corrections officers who upload the values of their jobs every day,” said Horn.