150 people arrested for allegedly using drones to deliver drugs and phones into jails

According to officials, an extensive investigation into a purported illegal operation involving drones in Georgia’s prisons has resulted in the apprehension of 150 individuals, including eight correction officers.

According to the governor’s office, an investigation known as “Operation Skyhawk” has revealed that drones were being utilized to transport cellphones, drugs, and weapons into Georgia Department of Corrections facilities.

According to a press release from the governor’s office, a comprehensive investigation has led to the execution of search and arrest warrants at two locations in the Metro Atlanta area. This operation has successfully dismantled a highly sophisticated criminal network, spanning multiple states, which involved civilians, inmates, and staff.

Eight employees of the Georgia Department of Corrections were arrested and subsequently fired, according to state officials.

According to the governor’s office, the case includes over 1,000 charges related to contraband introduction, drug trafficking, and felons possessing firearms. Additionally, many of the arrested individuals may also be charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and with gang-related offenses. This marks a significant moment in Georgia’s history, as it could potentially be the largest gang RICO case in the state.

In a statement, Governor Brian Kemp emphasized that Georgia is committed to taking a strong stance against individuals who engage in the trafficking of drugs, weapons, and contraband within the state’s correctional facilities.

During the operation, the authorities seized a total of 87 drones, 273 prohibited cellphones, and 22 weapons. Additionally, a significant quantity of tobacco, marijuana, methamphetamine, ecstasy, and cocaine was also confiscated by the law enforcement officials, as reported by the governor’s office.

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“The accomplishment of ‘Operation Skyhawk’ serves as a stark reminder to individuals, whether they are incarcerated or not, that we have an unwavering commitment to maintaining the security of our correctional facilities and safeguarding the public,” emphasized Tyrone Oliver, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Corrections. He further added, “We will not tolerate any threats to the smooth functioning of our prisons, and swift action will be taken against those responsible.”

The investigation into the matter commenced in November 2022, according to special agent Gregg Phillips of the Georgia Department of Corrections. In an interview with Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB, Phillips shared this information.

According to Phillips, the station was informed that about 170 prison drops were halted during the investigation.

On Thursday, authorities carried out raids on a drone repair shop in Gwinnett County. WSB, who was present at the scene, reported that over 50 drones were confiscated and two individuals were apprehended.

Prosecutors are collaborating with Georgia Department of Corrections special agents to request grand juries throughout the state to issue RICO and gang indictments against numerous suspects, as reported by WSB.

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