NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodValdosta


Georgia seeks to reform prisons through drug busts: Valdosta State Prisons sees five officers arrested

Five Valdosta State Prison officers were among the 150 suspects arrested in a multi-state criminal operation probe.
Posted at 8:19 PM, May 07, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-07 20:19:54-04
  • Georgia launches probe targeting drugs and illegal activities in state prisons; 150 suspects arrested, including five Valdosta State COs.
  • Operation Skyhawk aims for serious changes in the prison system; officials seize 87 drones, 273 illegal cellphones, and $7 million worth of drugs in ongoing efforts.
  • Watch the video to hear how this operation impacts our neighborhoods


Georgia is on a mission to rid state prisons of drugs and other illegal activities. Of the 150 suspects have been arrested as part of their investigation, five of those suspects were Valdosta State COs.

"You'd be surprised at the lifestyle that takes place in prison today.:"

I'm Malia Thomas, your neighborhood reporter in Valdosta, and I'm tracking a probe into a multi-state criminal operation.

This is Wesley James Smith. He's lived in Valdosta for the last few years.

Since coming here, I'm a part of Kairo's Ministry.

After serving time himself, he dedicated his time to helping inmates at Valdosta State Prison through religion.

He wants to see serious changes in the prison system through initiatives like Operation Skyhawk.

"You have some that really want to change of life, you know, and those are type of programs that I think we as the community again have to address because you got the inmates coming out now they're also adding to the homeless population."

In an effort to get rid of drugs in Georgia prisons, the Georgia Department of Corrections and the FBI have launched a months long probe into our prison systems.

Officers seized 87 drones and 273 illegal cellphones, and arrested 150 suspects. Among them, five worked at the VSP, according to a statement from the Governor's office last Thursday.

In a statement from Commissioner Tyrone Oliver with the GDC, he said:

"The success of 'Operation Skyhawk' should remind everyone, inside or outside our prisons, that we have zero tolerance for those who threaten public safety."

Officials say this group faces over 1,000 criminal charges, including drug trafficking and smuggling.

So far, the state has seized 22 weapons, and $7 million worth of drugs in their quest to clean up our prisons. In Valdosta, I'm Malia Thomas, ABC27.