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Dozens of Georgia prison guards arrested on federal charges

Arrests were being made across the state Thursday morning as about four dozen current and former state prison guards were told they face drug and bribery charges.

The charges are outlined in eight federal indictments, which have recently been unsealed. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta plans an afternoon press conference to announce the charges.

The indictments are part of a continuing crackdown to rid the state prison system of

drugs, corruption and contraband cell phones which are being used by inmates to commit crimes outside the prison walls.

The new indictments allege corruption by guards from Phillips, Macon, Dooly, Hancock, Pulaski and Baldwin state prisons. Five of the guards being charged were members of the Department of Corrections' tactical team, which works to rid prisons of contraband and control riots.

According to one indictment, guards allegedly believed they were providing protection to a Locust Grove-area drug dealing who was transporting multiple kilograms of methamphetamine and cocaine. In exchange, the guards received thousands of dollars in bribes, the indictment said.

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Bill Rankin covers criminal justice for the Enterprise team.