Prison guards convicted of smuggling drugs

A Boynton Beach woman is facing a federal prison sentence after she pleaded guilty Tuesday to tipping off suspected drug dealers who

A Boynton Beach woman is facing a federal prison sentence after she pleaded guilty Tuesday to tipping off suspected drug dealers who

A federal jury has convicted four former prison guards of bribery and drug trafficking for their roles in a massive operation that involved providing protection to dealers.

Already, 42 other former correctional officers and two civilians have pleaded guilty to their roles in the operation.

Related: Federal inmates bring drugs into Atlanta Pen.

Jeremy Fluellen, Tramaine Tucker and Christopher Williams, who worked atHancock State Prison, and Chelsey Mayweather, who worked at Baldwin State Prison, were convicted of a total of 15 counts of cocaine and methamphetamine distribution and seven counts of extortion under color of official right.

They will be sentenced July 25.

The convictions are part of a crack down on enterprises though out the state prison system that involved prison guards helping smuggling drugs into security facilities for a sizable payoff. Ultimately, 130 correctional officers, inmates and civilians have been charged with smuggling drugs and getting other contraband inside prisons.

In the case of the four convicted this week in federal court in Newnan, the officers in 2014 and 2015 used their uniforms to provide cover for a drug dealer who was transporting large quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine in the Locust Grove area.

In exchange for thousands of dollars in payoffs, the four, wearing their uniforms, accompanied deliveries to purported buyers and sometimes made deliveries themselves.

“These guards abdicated their responsibilities within the Georgia Department of Corrections at a time when corrections facilities in Georgia and elsewhere across the nation are being inundated with smuggled contraband smart phones that end up posing a larger problem to the public as well as the correction facility itself,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office.

According to testimony, the guards believed that if they were stopped by law enforcement while they were transporting the narcotics, police would see their uniforms and not search the vehicles.

“It’s troubling that so many officers from state correctional institutions across Georgia were willing to sell their badges for personal payoffs from purported drug dealers,” said U. S. Attorney John Horn. “They not only betrayed the institutions they were sworn to protect, but they also betrayed the ideals that honest, hard-working correctional officers uphold every day. They also directly contributed to the hurtful criminal activity both inside and outside the prisons they served.”

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