12 Indicted in Ga. Prison Cellphone Scheme

     ATLANTA (CN) – Twelve people have been indicted on charges they smuggled cellphones into Georgia prisons that allowed inmates to engage in a number of crimes, ranging from drug trafficking to identity theft.
     A federal grand jury returned the charges on Tuesday, and they were unsealed Thursday afternoon.
     According to federal prosecutors, the smuggling operations occurred at two state prisons, one outside of Atlanta and the other in Valdosta, Ga., near the Florida state line.
     Typically, inmates relied on prison employees to smuggle cellular telephones and other contraband into the prisons in return for bribes, the indictment says.
     In Valdosta, the government alleges, an inmate named Donald Howard Hinley used a cellphone acquired from a prison employee to traffic drugs and on one occasion, plan a violent assault on another inmate in retaliation for the inmate’s cooperating with law enforcement.
     According to telephone calls and text messages, prosecutors says, Hinley even had gallons of the “‘strongest’ liquor smuggled into the prison in large plastic water bottles.”
     At the Phillips State Prison near Atlanta, authorities said, two inmates used light fixtures in their cells to charge cellphones that they then used to access Facebook and make online purchases.
     One inmate, Mims Morris Jr., a convicted murderer, allegedly used his contraband cellphone to make calls posing as a representative of a credit card company to steal consumers’ personal information.

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