The FBI arrested 46 current and former correctional officers from the Georgia Department of Corrections system at at least eight different state institutions, two federal law enforcement officials said Thursday.
The officers are alleged to take bribes to deliver drugs outside of the prisons, according to the officials.
“Allegations range, of course, from smuggling in contraband to our inmates here, but also using their official capacity as officers to protect what they believe to be drug transactions and drug shipments traveling through Georgia,” Ricky Myrick, director of the Office of Investigations and Compliance at the Georgia Department of Corrections, told WSB-TV.
The indictments will be formally announced at 1 p.m. press conference Thursday in Atlanta.
WSB-TV is reporting that officers raided Dooly State Prison in the early morning, searching the facility for contraband including drugs, cell phones and weapons.
A law enforcement official involved in the investigation said the officers would wear their Georgia Department of Corrections uniforms and badges during the drug trafficking operations to avoid law enforcement scrutiny.
The guards allegedly believed an undercover FBI agent was actually a drug dealer working with the Mexican cartel. In exchange for showing up in uniform and helping to traffic the drugs, authorities allege the guards were compensated thousands of dollars.
Most of the guards are considered line guards that had direct interaction with inmates, but five were part of an elite tactical unit that recovers contraband in prisons, according to the law enforcement official.
The investigation is part of a larger public corruption investigation into Georgia Correctional Facilities, including the smuggling of contraband cellphones into jails.