Ten former employees of the Florida Department of Corrections have been charged as part of a sweeping investigation into the illegal sale and distribution of prescription pain pills, the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.
In all, 49 arrest warrants were issued for trafficking in oxycodone, sale of hydrocodone and introducing contraband into a state correctional facility, among other charges.
The busts were part of a joint investigation by the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office Drug Task Force and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, an investigation dubbed Operation Checkered Flag because the central figure, corrections officer Dylan Hilliard, allegedly used the profits to finance his race car.
According to the sheriff’s office, Hilliard purchased the pills from large-scale suppliers in Polk, Alachua and Duval counties. He then allegedly employed two FDC colleagues, William Markham and Evan Williams, as his main distributors. They are charged with selling the pills, along with contraband cell phones, to inmates at Florida State Prison. Seven other FDC employees, including at least one with the rank of major, were also charged in connection with the illegal pill network.
All 10 FDC employees have been fired, Secretary Julie Jones said in a statement Tuesday.
“Today’s actions send a clear message to both our officers and the people of Florida that any FDC employee engaging in criminal conduct will be identified and punished to the fullest extent of both Florida law and department policy,” she said.