Multiple Georgia prison guards arrested for misconduct
ATLANTA (AP) – More than 45 current and former prison guards in Georgia have been indicted on charges of accepting bribes and drug trafficking. Six of the nine institutions involved are from the Middle Georgia area.
“They not only betrayed the institutions that they were sworn to protect, but they’ve betrayed the trust and faith of thousands of honest corrections officers who uphold the ideas and values of their jobs everyday,” said John Horn, the U.S. Attorney for the Norther District of Georgia.
The arrests Thursday are the latest in a federal effort to crack down on contraband and criminal activity in Georgia prisons. About 130 people – including prison employees, inmates, former inmates and others accused of helping them – have been indicted since September.
Federal indictments were issued for 16 current and 23 former Georgia Department of Corrections correctional officers, 4 current and 3 former GEO Group correctional officer. Also, included in the indictments were one inmate and 2 civilians.
Indictments released Thursday claim the correction officers smuggles contraband into the prisons and used their law enforcement status to protect alleged drug deals.
“Accepting bribes, cash payments in exchange for protecting purported drug use. Cocaine and methamphetamine transactions to occur outside of the prison institutions,” explained Horn.
The indictments also say inmates used the illegal cell phones to commit wire fraud, money laundering and identity theft.
“We were here three weeks ago at a press conference very similar to this. Since that press conference, in three weeks, we’ve seized 629 cell phones,” said Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Homer Bryson.
The investigation started almost two years ago in an effort to stop cell phones from entering prisons. Investigators found a much larger problem.
“One inmate would refer a source to a second, or third, or fourth inmate who was engaged in the same conduct, who would then refer to a corrections officer who was willing to bring contraband,” said Horn.
Horn explained the correction officers would refer to other correction officers creating “teams.”
“We will not stand for the endangerment of our staff, inmates and the overall operations of our prisons. Those employees currently working for us as well as those who are interested in joining our team take heed to the following warning. If you are corrupt and endanger the lives of others, know that it is only a matter of time until we expose the truth and when we do, we will prosecute those to the fullest extent,” said Bryson.
The U.S. Attorney General’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia said this fight against corruption is far from over.
“These are systematic problems that were uncovered in these cases and they’re going to require more comprehensive solutions,” said Horn.
Horn said some examples of solutions to this problem are more searches when people enter a facility and making cell phones unusable from inside a prison.
Cell phone video of the US Attorney General
List of indicted officers and former officers:
Current GDC employees: Correctional Officer (CO) Selena Black, CO Jessica Brown, CO Travonne Ferrell (COBRA), CO Dontavis Fluellen (COBRA), CO Tacowan Fluellen (COBRA), CO Jaleel Green, CO Tamika Johnson (COBRA), CO Ethan Kilgore, CO Tiawanna McDonald, CO Phoenicia Minor, CO Shameka Mobley, CO Brandon Mullino, CO Trevon Newsome, CO Anthony Shoffner (COBRA), CO Alice Whitfield, and CO Branden Wiley
Former GDC Officers: Michael Bostic, Crystal Brooks, Christopher Clayton, Chasity Coleman, Patrick Coleman, Angela Dinkins, Benjamin Floyd, Jeremy Fluellen, Justin Gennings, Kenny Grover, Cortavius Henderson, Pierre Hill, Joshua Johnson, Kewanda Love, Chelsey Mayweather, Jarratt Ken Melvin, Angelique Pate, Sarne Sylvester, Tavia Trammer, Brandon Watkins, James Watkins, Christopher Williams, and Tonia Williams (COBRA)
Current GEO Group employees: CO Charisma Glenn, CO Kierria Harvey, CO Ebony Scott, and CO Keyerra Winkfield
Former GEO Group employees: CO Ashley Barnes, CO Tramaine Tucker, and CO Winfred Johnson