Channel 2 Action News has learned that four Fulton County Jail workers have been arrested by the FBI on corruption charges that they smuggled contraband into the jail for inmates.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne first broke the story on wsbtv.com. The workers were arrested at the Fulton County Jail during roll call on Thursday morning and escorted out the jail in handcuffs.
Fulton Jail Workers Arrested By FBI Related: Records Show Items Seized Inside Fulton Jail
FBI Special-Agent in Charge Brian Lamkin said, "Today's arrests is the culmination of a very intensive federal investigation into these allegations of a corrupt law enforcement within our Fulton County detention facility."
Fulton County Deputy Sheriff Marvie Trevino Dingle, Jr. and Fulton County Detention Officers Brian Shelby Anthony, Akil Scott, and Derick Deshun Frazier each face federal charges related to bringing contraband, including cell phones, cocaine and marijuana, into the jail and accepting money to facilitate or protect drug transactions.
United States Attorney Sally Yates said, The investigation revealed that that two of these law enforcement officers, Brian Anthony and Marvie Dingle, accepted payments from undercover agents posing as drug dealers to protect drug deals that took place outside the jail."
Four other people who are not employees at the jail were arrested on charges of distributing cocaine outside the jail in transactions with Anthony.
The indictment alleges Anthony accepted $26,950 to facilitate illegal drug transactions involving codefendants Aqeel Muhsin Rasheed, Keithan Henri James and Robert Lee Swain, Jr.
The four former Fulton County Jail employees, as well as Rasheed and Swain, had their first appearance hearings on Thursday evening. All six pleaded not guilty and were released on 25 thousand dollars unsecured bond.
The fourth person arrested who does not work at the jail, Rayfield Lewis II, is expected to be indicted and have his first appearance hearing today, according to an official with the U.S. Attorneys Office.
The official said James, who was arrested in Memphis and transported to Atlanta on Thursday, will also have his first appearance today.
Public defender Nicole Kaplan, the attorney who represented the four former jail employees in court on Thursday, had no comment on behalf of her clients.
Lamkin said Fulton County Sheriff Ted Jackson asked the FBI to investigate the contraband smuggling problem at the jail about a year ago and gave the FBI "unfettered access" to the jail to conduct their investigation.
Former Fulton County Chief Jailer Dennis Nelson confirmed that the FBI opened an investigation into relationships between certain jail officers or deputies and inmates in the jail before he left the jail in October. Nelson said employees were suspected in contraband smuggling. He said he had undertaken an aggressive shakedown policy and other steps to curb it.
Contraband issues also came to light after, police said, an inmate was shot by another inmate at the jail June 21. Investigators said it happened on the seventh floor maximum security wing of the jail, where physical contact is not allowed between inmates and visitors.
After the shooting, corrections officers found a five-shot Derringer pistol stuffed inside a toilet paper roll and hidden behind a ceiling panel. They also found nearly 20 illegal cellphones, charging devices and zippered plastic bags full of marijuana.
Officials said Thursday's arrests were not directly connected to the shooting last week. Yates said the investigation into how that gun was smuggled into the jail is still open.
"The investigation of corrupt officers at the Fulton County Jail is continuing and we are hopeful that these four arrests will send a message, said Yates.
Jackson said he has increased security at the jail, which now includes requiring all employees to undergo searches when they enter the detention center.
Jackson said, "Most of our employees are hard-working, dedicated, honest employees but the few that disgraced them caused the problems for all of us. Some of these employees are conflicted, they don't know what side of the bars they belong on so we're gonna help them make that decision."
If you have information about this case or any corruption, call the FBI's public corruption hotline at 877-428-5324.
RAW VIDEO: FBI Caravan Leaves Fulton County Jail