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Apr 25, 11:15 PM EDT

Corrections employees charged in prison contraband 'crisis'

AP Photo
AP Photo/Sean Rayford

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- More than a dozen employees of South Carolina's Department of Corrections have pleaded not guilty to federal charges related to bribery and contraband taken into the state prisons, days after a deadly prison riot left seven inmates dead.

The indictments made public Wednesday came a day after The Associated Press quoted several people connected to correctional institutions as saying cellphones, drugs and other contraband were flowing into prisons in South Carolina while officers turned a blind eye, or helped smuggle them in.

South Carolina corrections officials have long banned inmates from having cellphones because they can help inmates plot crimes and prison violence. They have declined to say whether more arrests are expected.

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