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Feds accuse prison guards of taking bribes, drug trafficking

Published:Friday | February 12, 2016 | 2:00 AM

ATLANTA (AP):

More than 40 prison guards and officers in Georgia have been indicted on charges of accepting bribes and drug trafficking, the latest in a federal effort to crack down on contraband and criminal activity in the state's prisons.

Since September, about 130 people, including prison employees, inmates, former inmates and others accused of helping them, have been indicted.

The indictments resulting in the arrests yesterday, were filed over the last three months and unsealed Wednesday.

A majority of those charged were Georgia Department of Corrections officers accused of agreeing to protect a person they believed was a high-level drug

trafficker. The indictments say the officers agreed to wear their uniforms during the drug transports to deter law enforcement interference.

The officers charged worked at nine different prisons.

Other indictments unsealed late last month accused 51 people of participating in a financial-fraud scheme masterminded by inmates using cellphones from their prison cells. Among those indicted were 15 correctional officers or former officers and 19 inmates or former inmates at Autry State Prison in Pelham.

Just a few weeks earlier, federal prosecutors accused 17 people of participating in a drug-trafficking ring that distributed significant quantities of crystal methamphetamine in metro Atlanta and elsewhere. Three inmates used cellphones to manage a network of brokers, distributors and runners from their prison cells, prosecutors said.