The Georgia Bureau of Investigation spent most of Thursday canvassing the pond area behind the Warden’s house at Smith State Prison.
TGV traveled to a neighboring property Thursday afternoon after receiving a tip from a passerby who noticed law enforcement vehicles at the back of the property visible from Highway 301. A drone was placed in the air and a handful of photos and videos were taken.
The Warden’s house is located across the road on Highway 301 on state property. Behind the house is a large pond, which had a small boat, a diver, and agents fishing from the bank of the pond on Wednesday. Next to the pond, a number of items could be seen neatly laid across a tarp. Among the items visible were shanks, tablet devices, and phones, all of which were next to a large hole dug the same day.
The search follows the arrest of Adams last week on charges of Bribery, Violation of Oath by a Public Officer, Violation of the Georgia RICO Act, and False Statements. You can read more about that here and here.
Under Georgia law, an individual can fly an unmanned aircraft, or drone, over a state prison and take photos and videos so long as no intent to commit a criminal offense exists. ‘Newsgathering purposes’ is protected under that clause found in O.C.G.A.42-5-18(f)(1). The drone was flown by a Part 107 Remote Pilot in unrestricted Class G airspace under 14 CFR Part 107 with due regard to all state and local laws and regulations.