A seven-day trial found Georgian woman Kpanah Kollie guilty of conspiracy to introduce contraband into a federal prison.
The announcement was made on Wednesday by U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Special Agent in Charge James F. Boyersmith with the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (DOJ OIG) Miami Field Office.
“Those who commit public corruption and participate in corrupt schemes endangering the public and others will swiftly be brought to justice by this office. I applaud the tenacity of the special agents, BOP personnel, and our federal prosecutors in prosecuting this difficult case. The actions by law enforcement here in stopping further cellphones and other contraband from entering the prison may have saved lives,” said Hurst.
“Contraband in federal prisons, such as the drugs and cell phones in this case, undermines the safety and security of staff, inmates, and the community. Today’s verdict shows that all persons involved in smuggling schemes, including persons outside the prison-like Kollie, will be held accountable,” said James F. Boyersmith.
In addition to Kollie, another two guards and one inmate pleaded guilty previously.
Kollie smuggled contraband together with other guards and inmates in the federal prison in Yazoo City, Mississippi, in 2015. The contraband included drugs and cell phones.
The judge presiding over the trial was U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves.
Kollie will be sentenced in March 2020 by Reeves and is facing a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
Operation Ghost Guard
A two-year Georgia prison contraband investigation involving the FBI and the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDOC) resulted in the arrest of 130 people.
The operation, dubbed “Operation Ghost Guard,” was first reported in 2016, and aimed at catching prison inmates and staff conspiring to obtain contraband, in particular, cell phones.
“The indictments allege that inmates managed and directed a number of fraud schemes that victimized citizens from across the country from within the Georgia prison system using contraband cell phones,” said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, John A. Horn, according to Prison Legal News.
“The unfortunate common denominator to this criminal conduct,” Horn said, “is the pervasive availability of contraband cell phones, which allows too many prison inmates to continue victimizing our communities while serving their sentences.”