Atlanta, GA – Governor Brian P. Kemp announced today that, in a continuing investigative effort between the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Streets Gang Task Force, search and arrest warrants were served today at two locations in the Metro Atlanta area, effectively shutting down a sophisticated, multi-state criminal enterprise that included civilians, inmates, and staff involved in contraband introduction into GDC facilities.

“Georgia will not tolerate those who put our communities at risk by trafficking drugs, weapons, and contraband both in and out of our correctional facilities,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “I want to thank Commissioner Oliver, the hardworking men and women of the GDC, and all law enforcement who worked to shut these operations down and help keep both Georgians and our correctional facilities safe.”

Dubbed “Operation Skyhawk,” the months-long investigation into contraband at GDC facilities revealed the use of drones to facilitate the introduction of contraband. That discovery led to the arrest of 150 suspects, including eight GDC employees who were immediately terminated. With a combined total of over 1,000 criminal charges stemming from contraband introduction, drug trafficking, and felons in possession of firearms, many of the individuals arrested will also be facing Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) charges and Participation in Criminal Gang Activity in multiple venues across the state, resulting in what will possibly be the largest Gang RICO in the state’s history.

“The success of ‘Operation Skyhawk’ should be a reminder to anyone – inside or outside our prisons – that we have zero tolerance and will take swift action against those who threaten the safe operations of our facilities and the safety of the public,” said GDC Commissioner Tyrone Oliver. “Our reach is far and wide, not just within the walls of our facilities, and I stand by my words from over a year ago, that this activity will not be tolerated. I am immensely proud of our Agents for their commitment to seeing that these individuals are brought to justice,” continued Oliver.

Items that have been confiscated thus far during the operation include the following items, with a total combined street value of over $7 million:

Drones – 87
Weapons – 22
Contraband cell phones in facilities – 273
Civilian cell phones – 180
Tobacco – 185 pounds
Marijuana – 67 pounds
Methamphetamine – 12 pounds
Ecstasy – 51 pounds
Cocaine – 10 grams
Various pills – 90

It is believed other states may also be affected by the same criminal enterprise, adding to the significance of the success of “Operation Skyhawk,” which would not have been possible without the assistance of hundreds of local law enforcement partners making traffic stops and responding to throwovers and contraband drops via drone at GDC facilities.

About the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC)
The Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) has one of the largest prison systems in the U.S. and is responsible for supervising approximately 47,000 state prisoners. It is the largest law enforcement agency in the state with approximately 9,000 employees. For more information on the GDC, call 478-992-5247 or visit


Press Secretary Garrison Douglas


Deputy Press Secretary Carter Chapman


Director of Public Affairs - Georgia Department of Corrections Joan Heath


Public Affairs Manager - Georgia Department of Corrections Lori Benoit