February 12, 2016 12:04 PM
Several prison guards were arrested this week on the charges of using the status of their uniforms in order to both help and protect a big-time drug trafficker in their effort to smuggle copious amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine throughout Georgia. However, what makes this story even more unique than it already is is that there never was a high-level drug trafficker involved. These guards are the latest victims of an FBI sting operation called “Operation Ghost Guard.”
In an article published yesterday in the Augusta Chronicle, the extent of Operation Ghost Guard was put in to full detail:
A total of 46 current and former correctional officers, along with two civilians and one inmate, were arrested Thursday in the latest phase of an undercover federal investigation targeting contraband and criminal activity in Georgia prisons, authorities said. Since September, about 130 people – including prison employees, inmates, former inmates and others accused of helping them – have been indicted in the effort, known as Operation Ghost Guard.
As can be derived from above, this operation has been ongoing and has led to the indictment of several people involved in Georgia’s prison system. Operation Ghost Guard began when the FBI was able to trace several mysterious phone calls received by people all across the country back to some contraband cell phones that had found their way into the hands of some of Georgia’s inmates. Naturally, this raised the question of how the cell phones were making their way into the prisons, and the investigation began from there.
Given the extent of the criminal activity that Ghost Guard has uncovered since its inception, U.S. Attorney John Horn asserts that the problem goes far beyond criminal charges and indictments.
“These are systemic problems that were uncovered in these cases, and they’re going to require more comprehensive solutions,” Horn said.
Some have argued that part of what has caused this problem is that it has been hard to attract solid officers to a job with low pay and little benefits, and as a result, the Department of Corrections has begun working with Governor Deal and the General Assembly to find ways in which this problem can be rectified in order to ensure that Georgia is able to employ quality correctional officers moving forward.