Thursday evening, Donald Trump’s mug shot was released to the public after he was booked at an Atlanta, Georgia jail on more than a dozen felony charges. The jail that booked him, Fulton County Jail, has a long rap sheet of smuggled drugs, constant violence, and notorious murderers and serial killers through the decades.
ABC 7 reports that Trump’s mug shot was a historic first: the first former U.S. president to have his mug shot taken. (Nixon came close but was given a full and unconditional pardon by Gerald Ford on September 8, 1974.)
It’s the culmination of a wide-ranging criminal case surrounding the former U.S. president’s alleged attempts to overturn his 2020 election, particularly in Georgia which was vital to win the votes needed.
Trump—aka inmate No. P01135809 according to Fulton County Jail records—was photographed with a stern look and the photo instantly went viral. Eighteen other defendants are facing charges for their alleged roles in overturning the 2020 election. Trump was indicted four times this year, but this is the first time he’s facing RICO charges and the first time his mug shot has been taken.
District Attorney Fani Willis oversaw the investigation and the racketeering charges against Trump and 18 co-defendants. Others include Trump’s former attorney Rudy Giuliani and chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Thursday also marked Trump’s less triumphant return to X, formerly known as Twitter, where he posted his own mug shot along with the message in all caps: “ELECTION INTERFERENCE. NEVER SURRENDER!”
Trump only spent around 20 minutes at the Fulton County Jail, however, before returning to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to fly back to Bedminster, New Jersey.
For most other inmates at the jail, many on drug-related charges, the realities are a lot harsher with hard time. RICO or racketeering charges are among the most severe. In the cannabis world, RICO charges have been used for and against numerous cannabis companies. Cases against state-legal cannabis activities are based on the allegation that such activities violated the federal Controlled Substances Act and thereby satisfied the predicate act requirement under RICO, the firm Duane Morris explains.
Fulton County Jail and its History of Drugs
Some people speculate how easy it is to obtain drugs in jail. The “never-ending drug hustle behind bars” never stops at jails in America, wrote Olivia Fields of The Marshall Project. It’s one of the core reasons the War on Drugs failed.
Fulton County Jail is also plagued with insider drug trade. Other inmates at Fulton County apparently had access to weed, cigarettes, and drugs, which were being smuggled in by at least one prison contractor.
Fox 5 reported on June 22, 2022 that TreQuera Lashell Ford was a contracted medical assistant for the Fulton County Jail who was arrested for smuggling pot into the jail. Officials said Ford was stopped on May 14, 2022 because she smelled like weed, and admitted to smoking in her car before coming to work.
Police began to routinely search her bag and she panicked, grabbed her keys and ran, walked through the parking lot, jumped in her car and left. Deputies reportedly found 6.8 ounces of cannabis, 20 grams of crack cocaine, 200 cigarettes, and loose tobacco.
“Let me be clear, if you attempt to smuggle anything into the Fulton County Jail, you will be caught, and you will be arrested,” Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat said. “Our deputies and investigators worked relentlessly to bring this fugitive to justice.”
Police didn’t stop there: They tapped her phone and recorded conversations proving she was smuggling drugs into the jail. Ford was contracted to work at the jail for only a few months before she was busted.
The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office said an extensive search spanning multiple jurisdictions finally found her and arrested her in Grenada, Mississippi.
Fulton County Jail and Violence
USA Today reports that the jail has been built a total of four times, and the first opened in 1904, and was rebuilt as Atlanta City Jail on Peachtree Street in 1927. In 1961, a third facility was built on Jefferson Street.
Ten years later, the Jefferson Street jail was home to the 1971 riots. In 1971, inmates at the jail protested poor living conditions and overcrowding, erupting in a riot that led to extensive property damage and injuries. (The same year the larger Attica Prison riot in New York turned out to be worse.)
In 1984, voters approved a $44.3 million bond for a new county jail, running a tab of upwards of $50 million, and that’s the modern facility that Trump was booked into.
Producer-turned-murderer Phil Spector and serial killer Wayne Williams also did time at Fulton County. Trump, however, is probably the most high profile figure to be booked at Fulton County.