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Georgia Prison Smuggling Ring Busted, Warden and Former Guard Arrested

by Chuck Sharman

After Georgia prisoner Nathan Weekes and three others were indicted for murder in April 2022, a smuggling ring they operated at Smith State Prison was busted. That has now led to the arrest of the prison’s warden, Brian Dennis Adams, 48, on February 8, 2023.

The state Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said that Weekes, 27, ran what he called the Yves St. Laurent gang, moving large quantities of smuggled drugs and other contraband into and around the lockup. Adams allegedly accepted payoffs to look the other way and even lied to GBI agents investigating a trio of murders tied to the group.

First, GBI said, Weekes ordered his girlfriend killed – prison guard Jessica Gerling, 28 – apparently fearing the ring would be exposed after her arrest on smuggling charges in June 2020. GBI said that Weekes and his new girlfriend, former guard Keisha Janae Jones, 36, contracted for the killing with Christopher Sumlin, 31, who had been paroled from the prison.

But Sumlin botched his attempt in January 2021 and killed Gerling’s neighbor, Bobby Kicklighter, 88. For that murder, Weekes and Jones were indicted in May 2022, along with Jones’ roommate, Aerial Deshay Murphy, 23.

Just weeks before Sumlin went to the wrong house looking for Gerling and killed Kicklighter instead, Gerling allegedly hired him to kill Jerry Lee Davis, 31, a delivery driver who made stops at the prison. Sumlin was also charged with that murder in August 2021.

Still needing Gerling killed, Weekes turned to Dennis Kraft, GBI said, storing the 41-year-old’s number in his phone under the name of a fictional assassin from the movies, “John Wick.” Gerling’s bullet-riddled corpse was found in an abandoned car in a mobile home park in June 2021. Weekes, Jones and Kraft were charged with the murder in March 2023.

Adams was fired and charged with violating the state Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act, OCGA § 16-14-1, a charge the others also face in addition to murder. For that, though, prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty for Weekes and one triggerman, Sumlin.

Meanwhile Adams was arraigned on February 9, 2023, on the RICO charges as well as violations of OCGA § 16-10-20, for alleged False Statements and Writings, Concealment of Facts, and Fraudulent Documents in Matters Within Jurisdiction of State or Political Subdivisions; and OCGA § 16-10-1, for alleged Violation of Oath by Public Officer; and OCGA § 16-10-2, for alleged Bribery. See: State v. Adams, Warrant No. 2023-F-50 (Tatnall Cty.).

Additional sources: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, CBS News, Georgia Virtue, Tatnall Journal, WSB, WJCI, WTOC, WXIA