Mark Edward Jeffery, a former Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) officer, who smuggled alcohol, drugs, and contraband cellphones into Hays State Prison, has been sentenced to federal prison for possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.

“Smuggling illegal contraband into a prison jeopardizes the safety of jailers and inmates alike,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.  “Contraband also fosters criminal activities both inside and outside of prisons.  Correctional officers like Jeffery, who disgrace their badge, can expect to be prosecuted and join the prison population they were eager to accommodate by committing these crimes.”

“Jeffery betrayed the trust placed in him by the Department of Corrections through his illegal and potentially dangerous activity,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The investigation and prosecution of this case shows that we will not tolerate corrupt staff who violate their sworn duties as government employees and jeopardize the safety of their fellow officers.”

“We are pleased to see that justice has been served on this former Officer for his role in jeopardizing our non-negotiable mission of public safety,” said GDC Commissioner Timothy C. Ward.  “Ridding our prisons of corrupt staff and shedding light on those who choose to ignore that mission remains a top priority.”

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges, and other information presented in court: On April 17, 2017, Jeffery began working as a correctional officer at Hays State Prison in Trion, Georgia.  The facility opened in 1990 and currently holds approximately 1,680 male prisoners.

On February 7, 2018, one of Jeffery’s fellow correctional officers observed a large rectangular object, wrapped in black electrical tape, hidden in Jeffery’s beverage container.  The fellow officer notified a supervisor about possible contraband.  Later that day, the prison’s chief of security asked Jeffery to consent to a search of his person and belongings.  Jeffery consented to the search and correctional officers found one brown glass smoking utensil, four cellular phone chargers, four smartphones, two bags containing 190 pills, a plastic bag with methamphetamine, and a water bottle with alcohol.  

Mark Edward Jeffery, 34, of Fairmount, Georgia, was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Harold L. Murphy to five years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.  A federal grand jury indicted Jeffery, and he pleaded guilty on February 11, 2019 to one count of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Department of Corrections.