Five Valdosta State Prison officers arrested

May 2—VALDOSTA — Five Valdosta State Prison officers were among the 150 suspects arrested during a probe into a multi-state criminal operation involving contraband in Georgia prisons.

All five of the Valdosta State Prison officers were charged with conspiracy to commit a felony, while other charges range from sexual assault by persons with authority to trading with inmates, a statement from the Georgia Department of Corrections said Thursday.

The probe — Operation Skyhawk — uncovered the use of drones to bring contraband into Georgia prisons, a statement from Gov. Brian Kemp's office said.

More than $7 million in illicit goods were confiscated across the state, including methamphetamine, ecstasy, cocaine, marijuana, drones, weapons and cellphones, the governor's statement said.

Altogether, the 150 suspects face more than 1,000 charges. The governor's office described the contraband gang as involving civilians, inmates and prison staff members.

"The success of 'Operation Skyhawk' should be a reminder to anyone — inside or outside our prisons — that we have zero tolerance and will take swift action against those who threaten the safe operations of our facilities and the safety of the public," said GDC Commissioner Tyrone Oliver.