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Bainbridge residents federally indicted

Bainbridge residents Shalonda Baker, 33, and Tyler Dickens, 22, were among the 54 individuals federally indicted on Thursday Jan. 21st after a joint investigation by the Georgia Department of Corrections and the FBI into smuggling at the Autry State Prison.

Baker and Dickens are both charged with conspiring to accept bribe payments to smuggle contraband into the prison. They are both listed as former corrections officers at Autry State Prison.

“We will not stand for corruption within the walls of our prisons and the imposing threat against the safety of our citizens,” GDC Commissioner Homer Bryson said in a press release from the Department of Corrections. “This is why the continuation of our partnership with the FBI is imperative in combating and exposing these criminal networks.”

According to the release from the GDC, inmates were provided with contraband cellphones which where then used to commit crimes. According to the release inmates would use the phones to look-up and contact potential victims. They would call potential victims and present themselves as law enforcement officials. According to the release, inmates would then falsely accuse their victims of either missing jury duty or failing to appear in court. Victims would then be told that in order to prevent a warrant being issued for their arrest they had to pay a fine. Victims would then be told to purchase a pre-paid card and provide the number to the inmate running the scam.

“Eliminating illegal cell phones, from our facilities, is a top priority for our agency,” Commissioner Bryson said in the release. “Working closely with our partners at the FBI is just one of the many tools we are using to combat this serious issue.”

The GDC and FBI had been worked on the investigation for two years according to the release and it culminated with the arrest of 54 individuals on Thursday. Those arrested included four current GDC Correctional officers, 11 formers correction officers, 18 current inmates and 21 civilians according to the release.

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