South Carolina Prisons: 54 Defendants Indicted in “Prison Empire”

South Carolina State Grand Jury has issued a round of indictments in the drug trafficking case known as “Prison Empire”

COLUMBIA, SC (STL.News) South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced Friday that the South Carolina State Grand Jury has issued a round of indictments in the drug trafficking case known as “Prison Empire.”  The investigation alleges much of the drug trafficking was run and facilitated by current and former inmates though the use of contraband cell phones in South Carolina prisons, along with their confederates on the outside.  Most of the drugs allegedly being trafficking in the case were methamphetamine, but there are also cocaine and marijuana charges in the case as well.  Additionally, there are a number of firearms and weapons charges associated with the alleged drug trafficking, as well as burglary, kidnapping, and related charges from an incident allegedly ordered from prison because of nonpayment of a drug debt.

“The only way prison inmates are able to keep committing crimes on the outside is by using contraband cell phones,” Attorney General Wilson said.  “They coordinate with people on the outside to get drugs and smuggle them into prisons.  This market for contraband inside our prisons has contributed to gang power, gang rivalries, and gang violence within our prisons, and also contributes to violence on the outside by those who are involved.”

“An illegal cell phone is the most dangerous weapon in our prisons today,” said Bryan Stirling, director of the S.C. Department of Corrections.  “We are grateful to all of our law enforcement partners and the state grand jury for helping bring these cases forward and highlighting the serious issue of cell phones in prisons.”

NOTE: this is NOT the complete report.  The press release is an 8 page release.  Download the PDF to read this national news story.

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