Press Releases

Georgia Department of Corrections
Homer Bryson, Commissioner

Director of Public Affairs
Joan Heath

Contact: Gwendolyn Hogan
(478) 992-5247
Gwendolyn.Hogan@gdc.ga.gov

STATE OF GEORGIA

For Immediate Release

Twelve Charged in Scheme that Allowed Georgia Inmates to Sell Drugs and Defraud Consumers from Inside Prison - GDC joint investigation with the United States Attorney's Office, FBI and GBI

FORSYTH, Ga.—Federal indictments have been handed down for four inmates, three paroled inmates, one former Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) employee, one former contract worker, and three civilians. GDC along with the United States Attorney’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) have been working together in the months long investigation that exposed a criminal network inside both Valdosta and Phillips State Prisons. 

“The problem is clear and we are fully aware of the issue we face,” said Commissioner Bryson. “This is why it is essential that we continue to stand united and strong through our partnership with the United States Attorney’s Office, FBI, and GBI as we expose these criminal enterprises utilizing cell phones to conduct their operations within our walls.”

The 12 individuals who have been indicted are: inmate Tiffany Allen (GDC #1001590457), inmate Adam Dwayne Smith (GDC #1103234), inmate Donald Hinley (GDC #717990), inmate Johnanthan Lee Silvers (GDC #1218241), inmate Mims Michael Morris, Jr. (GDC #1000162940), former inmate William Matthews, former inmate Ruben Ruiz, former inmate Kansas Bertollini, former probationer Opal Hayden, former GDC Correctional Officer Anekra Williams, former Aramark contract worker Charonda Edwards, and civilian Monique Kinney (Reed).  Details on charges for these 12 individuals can be found within the Department of Justice’s press release.

During the investigation, it was discovered that contraband cellphones inside the prisons were instrumental in the operations of the criminal network at both facilities. “Contraband is a continual battle that the corrections system deals with on a daily basis,” said Commissioner Bryson. “Since I became Commissioner, we have arrested 50 civilians and staff for attempting to introduce contraband into our facilities; with all 22 staff members terminated from employment.”

Former GDC employee Williams was hired in March 2014 as a Correctional Officer at Valdosta State Prison. Six months later, she was served with a notice of separation for violation of personal dealings and introducing contraband. Former Aramark employee Edwards was hired in July 2013 and was terminated July 27, 2015 for suspicion of personal dealings and documented plans to introduce contraband.

To help combat this problem, GDC has invested significant resources to implement a variety of interdiction methods that are discussed in detail in the agency’s special publication, detailing what the public should know about cell phones in Georgia prisons and how they can help.

The GDC has one of the largest prison systems in the U.S. and is responsible for supervising nearly 55,000 state prisoners.  It is the largest law enforcement agency in the state with approximately 10,500 employees.

For more information on the GDC call 478-992-5247 or visit http://www.gdc.ga.gov

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