Smith State Prison employee says contraband, fear runs rampant

Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 11:07 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 21, 2023 at 6:29 PM EST
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TATTNALL COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - A Smith State Prison employee said contraband is just one part of a bigger criminal operation inside the walls.

Two weeks ago, the warden had been fired and arrested on a slew of charges including racketeering and bribery. Investigators say they believe the crime ring was the motive in a Tattnall County murder.

The arrest of Smith State Prison’s warden likely surprised plenty of people around the state. But a prison employee said you would be shocked at the criminal operation running behind that fence and inside those walls.

Even with the arrest of now-former warden Brian Adams, the employee still did not want to be identified. They said contraband comes into the prison at an alarming rate.

It ranges from tobacco to high end shoes and clothes to gaming systems. But those are used for more than fun. The staffer said inmates hack into the prison’s internet and use the game to navigate drones to make drops over the prison fence.

“What was coming in by the drones was the hard contraband, the hard drugs, the cell phones, the throw over the fences. That’s what that was.”

The staffer believes others besides Adams are in on the ring, or they’re placed in positions they aren’t experienced enough to handle.

“They do a shake down, they find tons of cell phones, knives, contraband, drugs. You name it, they find it.”

The staff member said extreme short-staffing has helped inmates run their operation with hardly any worry about getting caught and some officers are fearful to investigate.

“We are allowed to do what the inmates allow us to do. We go home every day by the grace of the inmates.”

Investigators believe at least one murder in the area connects back to the crime. They believe an inmate placed a hit on a corrections officer, but his partners killed 80-year-old neighbor Bobby Kicklighter by mistake.

WTOC contacted the Georgia Department of Corrections for a comment on these claims but received no reply.