Feds say 3 Georgia inmates used cellphones to run drug ring

Federal prosecutors say three Georgia inmates were running a drug trafficking ring that distributed significant quantities of crystal methamphetamine in metro Atlanta and elsewhere.

An indictment filed Jan. 5 and unsealed Tuesday accuses 17 people of participating in a drug trafficking conspiracy. Prosecutors say Francisco Palacios Baras, Johnathan Corey McLoon and Christopher Wayne Hildebrand used contraband cellphones to manage a network of brokers, distributors and runners from their prison cells.

It was not immediately clear whether any of those named in the indictment had attorneys who could comment on the charges.

The indictment marks the third time in four months that Georgia inmates have been charged with using contraband smartphones to run criminal operations from their prison cells.