TATNALL COUNTY, Ga. — A Channel 2 Investigation reveals corruption inside one of Georgia’s most secure prisons.
Channel 2 Action News has obtained public records that show a former state prison warden may have accepted bribes from a prison gang. It’s the same gang under indictment for using a cellphone to put out a hit on an officer.
Brian Adams was the warden at Smith State Prison in Tatnall County until he was fired Wednesday and then arrested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]
Adams is accused of taking bribe money from the “Yves Saint Laurent Squad,” the same gang under indictment for using a cellphone to put out a hit on an incorruptible corrections officer from inside the jail. The killer ended up going to the wrong house and killing an innocent man in his late 80s.
On April 25 of last year, four alleged gang members were indicted on malice murder and RICO and more charges for the murder plot and more .
One inmate indicted in the plot, Nathan Weekes, is accused of using a cellphone to communicate with his co-defendants to order the hit.
- Georgia prison warden fired amid corruption charges after GBI investigation
- GA prison gang tried to have guard killed -- but sent hitman to wrong house, GBI says
- Georgia corrections officer accused of smuggling nearly $30K into prison for bribes
Weekes was housed at Smith State Prison until he was moved to the a high max prison with the toughest security in the GDOC’s entire system in Butts County. High Max houses Georgia’s most dangerous inmates.
Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Mark Winne has obtained warrant documents that indicate a special agent believes Weekes former warden, Adams, received money through a pattern of racketeering activity associated with the gang. Documents also suggest that Adams made false statements regarding his involvement with Weekes.
New Georgia prison commissioner Tyrone Oliver say Weekes has been caught with cellphones 12 times, the last time as recently as February.
Oliver said contraband making its way into prisons is a huge problem, and one that he is working to curb.
“We do have a problem with contraband cellphones within GDC. That’s been an ongoing issue as long as you go back and look at stories,” Oliver said. “But we’re committed to combatting that.”
[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]
Oliver said that finding new ways to curb contraband in prisons, especially cellphones, which can be used to commit other crimes, has been top priority since he took office on Jan. 1. He said the GDC is constantly adding high-tech tools and he’s hoping federal regulators will soon clear the way for more.
Officers have been searching Weekes and his cell frequently since October. He didn’t have cellphone for several months until he was caught with one again on Feb. 4, which was found shortly after he obtained it from an inmate orderly.
Weekes’ attorney, prominent Marietta defense lawyer Jimmy Berry, says Weekes has pled not guilty to all the charges currently against him.
Oliver said he’s confident that the warden overseeing Weekes now is like most Georgia correctional officers: honest, dedicated and hardworking.
©2022 Cox Media Group