Racketeering, Smuggling, Sex with Guards: 25 Indicted in Massive Baltimore Prison Scandal

Twenty-five people, including 13 guards, have been busted in a scandal featuring everything from racketeering to smuggling to an inmate impregnating female prison officers.

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Michael S. Williamson / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Baltimore City Detention Center

A major scandal in the Baltimore city corrections system netted an indictment of 25 people — including 13 prison guards — on charges of drug conspiracy, money laundering and racketeering, all run through a prison gang operation in which inmates virtually controlled the jail in which they were incarcerated.

Federal law enforcement officials say the defendants conspired with or took bribes from members of the Black Guerilla Family to smuggle drugs, cellphones, and other contraband in and out of the Baltimore City Detention Center and several facilities connected to it. Four female corrections officers named in the indictment even allegedly became pregnant (one of them twice) by the gang’s accused ringleader, inmate Tavon White.

(LIST: TIME’s 25 Greatest Crimes of the Century)

The scheme ran from 2009 through at least February, when it was discovered through a series of inspections by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

But before it was busted, the gang operated with near complete impunity.”In this case, the inmates literally took over the asylum and the detention centers became safe havens for the BGF,” said FBI Special Agent Stephen E. Vogt in a statement. “Law enforcement should not have to concern itself with criminal subjects who have already been arrested and relegated to detention centers.”

At the center of the allegations is White, 36, who was accused of a 2009 attempted murder and was being held at BCDC awaiting trial. In a transcript of an intercepted cellphone call included in the indictment, he appears to implicate himself as the leader of the gang by asserting that nothing happens within the jail without his approval:

This is my jail. You understand that? I’m dead serious….I make every final call in this jail…and nothing go past me, everything come to me….Any of my brothers that deal with anybody, it’s gonna come to me. You see what I am saying? Everything come to me. Everything. Before a mother-f—— hit a n—— in the mouth, guess what they do, they gotta run it through me. I tell them whether it’s a go ahead, and they can do it or whether they hold back. Before a mother-f—— stab somebody, they gotta run it through me….Anything that get done must go through me. ”

The Black Guerilla Family is one of many prison gangs that operate throughout the country. Its origins date back to the radical movements of the 1960s, and it operates  within various prison systems and also on the streets; a member was convicted in the 1989 shooting death of Black Panther co-founder Huey P. Newton. The BGF has been the dominant gang at the Baltimore facility since 2006.

(MORE:  Colorado Corrections Chief Killed at His Home, Police Seek Motive and Suspect)

The indictment says inmates paid their co-conspirators through Green Dot Money Pak prepaid cards, and even purchased luxury items for guards who were working with the gang. For example, officials say White gave corrections officer Jennifer Owens a diamond ring and bought Mercedes Benz, BMW and Acura automobiles for Owens, Katera Stevenson, Chania Brooks and Tiffany Lender — all guards that he allegedly had sexual relationships with. These relationships, the indictment says, were used to influence the women who in turn helped the smuggling operation.

But these five were not the only ones involved, according to the indictment. Eight other prison officers performed duties ranging from smuggling contraband into the prison to tipping off BGF members about law enforcement “shakedowns” to standing lookout while the guards had sex with inmates. All of the 13 corrections officers accused in the indictment are female.

(MORE:  Texas Triple Murder: Woman Arrested for Role in Death of District Attorney, Wife and Assistant D.A.)

The scheme was busted when 30 Maryland corrections officers from outside BCDC, along with federal agents, carried out surprise searches of inmate cells, unearthing caches of drugs including oxycodone, benzodiazepines, hydrocodone and marijuana.

Each of the 25 accused are charged with racketeering, drug trafficking, extortion, bribery and money laundering. The defendants face a maximum 20 years imprisonment if convicted. One suspect, Ralph Timmons Jr., who was not an inmate, was included in the charges, but was killed in a robbery hours before the indictment came down.

Gary P. Maynard, head of the Maryland public safety department, which administers the BCDC acknowledged the gap that allowed the scheme to operate in the first place and vowed to make changes. “Everything that happens in this department is my responsibility,” Maynard told The Baltimore Sun. “It’s totally on me.”

MORE: In Florida’s Prison System, Honey Buns Are the Ultimate Comfort Food

61 comments
HassanHartley
HassanHartley

http://brotherhassans.blogspot.com/2013/04/black-menhip-hop-hiv-and-prison.html



My book, "When The Lights Go Out: The Truth About Black Male Prison Sexuality", is the culmination of a study that I conducted among over 2,000 current and former black male prison inmates, a study of human sexuality, sexual identity politics within the prison social fabric, and the separation of fact from myth as it relates to long held stereotypes of prison sexual abuse.

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I examine the role of education, religion, hip-hop, homophobia, and the impact of what I call a "manhood vacuum" on young black men in prison, who are being trafficked in and out of the system at annual rates higher than the population of black slaves in the U.S. in 1850, shortly before the Civil War. 



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As so many millions of young black men are captured and warehoused in prisons, sexuality, sexual contact, and the possibility of massive HIV and other STD infections being brought home to millions of black women( and other men) cannot be ignored, and my book takes a provocative, nuanced, thoughtful look into a world that most Negroes are either too scared or too homophobic to have healthy discussions about. Find out what really happens, When The Lights Go Out.



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http://brotherhassans.blogspot.com/2013/04/black-menhip-hop-hiv-and-prison.html

ghettodan
ghettodan

all good thing come to an end....if the system is corrupt in the first place what can you do?

ghettodan
ghettodan

all good thing come to an end....

charleyhorse
charleyhorse

The fish stinks from the head. All of this can be traced to O'Malley. He was a mediocre mayor, an abysmal as Governor. Whenever he has failed at something, he always has a built in excuse. Usually, he blames his failures on a Republican, be it Bush or Erlich (the previous Governor who was Republican). The Baltimore Sun, a far Left newspaper, has always covered for him. This time, even thay can not defend this failure. The sad thing is, O'Malley thinks he can be President. Hopefully, this will put that idea to rest

aboutface
aboutface

Thia is the trouble with suspending the death sentnece. Some of these criminals come out and commit crimes or stay in prison for life and create trouble.

valentine.godoflove
valentine.godoflove

'As Gomer Pyle would have said...........SURPRISE...............SURPRISE.................SURPRISE...............WELCOME TO THE ANIMAL FARM!!!!!!!!!

They should rotate the prison guards in all the prisons to prevent collutions like this.

Valentine, comedian

mattskala
mattskala

In all seriousness, I think the first thing they need to do is distribute a lot more free condoms.  Never mind pregnancies that lead to embarassing news stories; there's enough injection drug use and resulting disease risk in even relatively well-run prisons that it's to everyone's benefit - not just the current inmates - for condoms to be very, very easy to obtain on the inside.

buffalo.barnes102
buffalo.barnes102

"Twas ever thus". If this is news to you, it's already too late. For many people jail is a "lifestyle" and, for the most part, the guards are no better. What now?

GlenCollins
GlenCollins

So hows that drug war working out for ya?

blackmanta7
blackmanta7

BLACK FEMALES GUARDING BLACK THUGS WHAT DO YOU EXPECT. FEMALES SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED IN MALE PRISONS. 

JaySchuls
JaySchuls

Baltimore need I say more??? 

ronajrny
ronajrny

Of course this goes on, people be people. The real pertinent question is WHY is Tavon still waiting for a trial for a crime that allegedly occured in 2009? That is the first question that needs an answer.The answer "the dockets are backed up" is not adequate. Leaving out this persons right to a speedy trial, law-abiding citizens have a right to see that justice is done. Stacking up alleged criminals and not trying and sentencing them is a worse crime to the victims of the original crime than any of the crimes these people are accused of committing in this indictment.

trk162
trk162

Hnic no more...sounds familiar, Pennsylvania Ave. D.C.?

brittanyscrapma
brittanyscrapma

I've been in prison before and this kind of thing goes on everywhere. Some facilities more so than others but as long as prisoners have an appetite for drugs such as marijuana, tobacco, alcohol, heroin etc drugs will be brought in. In the end the same thing goes for civilians not in prisons.

amodel8591
amodel8591

In Michigan it is a felony for ANYONE to have sex with an incarcerated state prison inmate.  Look like MD could use such a law.

basicreference19
basicreference19

We can all voice our opionions as much as possible but nothing will change the system is broken most of the guards are women who have more experience in criminal behavior then your average person most of the imates they know from the ghetto so how can you have a position correcting/monitoring ghetto behavior when your mind set is of the ghetto your a women surrounded by all that attention all that D**k have sex with them have connections to get drug money to get your hair done not to take care of 3 or 4 of your children what do you exspect. I've witnessed this personally the guards chasing each other like elementary school children gossiping about who baby daddy just got registered etc. it's crazy.

Dan60093
Dan60093

The USA seems to have at least 10 laws covering every situation. Is there really no law prohibiting prison guards from having sex with inmates?

kissmyhiney
kissmyhiney

Wow. What kind of loser are you if you resort to having sex with inmates?

ricport
ricport

One of the happiest days of my life was when I moved out of Baltimore. It's been plagued by a series of incompetent mayors, going back to our current nitwit governor.

mary.waterton
mary.waterton

The inmates run the prisons because, in the opinion of liberal democrat activist judges, all criminals are victims.

michaelsstrong
michaelsstrong

This is quite common and expected  as Opium war 3 progresses expect all basic services and regulatory agencies to fall under the same corrupt influence..

Lessons learned in 1838 by Chinese who soon became extinct after opium wars 1-2 ARE being relearned  this time by the USA, 

The 3000 year old Empirical Chinese did not have such an example before them  and WE squander history's lessons.....

jota511
jota511

Perhaps the governor and mayor should have expended more energy (at least as much) on this than on legalizing same-sex marriage.

jota511
jota511

...and Gary P. Maynard hasn't already been terminated because...?

CletePurcel
CletePurcel

Who cares!!  Like this doesnt go on in every other prison.  The women officers in this situation....wow, how hard up were they?  I bet they are some real classy ladies

sks
sks

Baltimore is a scummy city, just a twin of Detroit

JoeMauro
JoeMauro

This is the age america is in now,the age of public service incompetence.

JimmyVo
JimmyVo

The Black Guerilla Family..a fitting name for THIS prison gang and for most of the inmates at all US prisons nationwide!

pcseller001
pcseller001

The only thing worse than a guard that uses his power to abuse prisoners is one that uses his power to help them commit crimes.

DiannBarnes
DiannBarnes

A WELL KNOWN FEMALE "HIP-HOP" ARTIST HAS A HOOK ON ONE OF THE SONGS THAT MADE HER A HOUSEHOLD NAME: "LIL KIM": THE KEY TO LIFE IS MONEY, POWER & RESPECT ! ! HOW THE HELL THIS HAPPENS IN AMERICA IS BEYOND MY IMAGINATION, IT'S LIKE WE HAVE OUR OWN LITTLE MEXICO CARTEL GOING ON & PEOPLE ARE TOO SCARED TO SAY OR DO ANYTHING ! OBAMA REALLY NEEDS TO LOOK INTO THIS BECAUSE THIS CAN'T BE THE ONLY PRISON SYSTEM W/THIS HAPPENING !

ClintHanrahan
ClintHanrahan

No wonder we have a crime and violence problem in this country,  the thugs are trying to get into prison so they can all have a good time with the corrupt guards.  The guards should be rotated on a daily basis, so we don't have these problems.  Any guard that is caught engaged in a sexual or illegal activity with a prisoner should get 30 years in jail.  Our criminal justice system is broken and is not protecting us from the criminals.  
Why is anyone talking about gun control. We need criminal control first.
Our criminal justice system is not doing enough to protect us from the criminals. Crooks should be put away until they're no longer a threat to society. Our criminal justice system has been reduced to a joke by years of weak politicians and judges trying to win the liberal vote. We need to focus much less on the criminal's rights and much more on the victim's and citizen's rights. Our elected officials are not doing enough to keep us safe from criminals.
Bigger prisons filled with the thugs that cause us to feel unsafe are the only answer to our violence problem. The fact that people are hauled in on charges like robbery and burglary, with overwhelming evidence against them, and then released back onto our streets is appalling. With strong evidence, there should be no bail in these cases or for any gun crime. This idea of being soft on criminals must stop.
Any gun crime should require a mandatory life sentence. If a felon is caught with a gun, he should be sentenced to life also. The trial should last about 2 minutes; he's a felon, he had gun regardless of the reason, guilty, life in prison. Why do our laws make this so hard? We need to reform those laws now.  I don't care one little bit about reforming a criminal. The only thing I care about is keeping them off the streets, so they are not a threat to our families. We're paying for most of them from cradle to grave anyhow, we might as well be safe while we're doing it.

BobMoody
BobMoody

Abuses of their government authority conviction should be MANDATORY that they receive the maximum penalty for the crime and an additional equal amount of time for using that governmental authority. Especially police.They have immediate life and death decisions and actions in their everyday job. Nobody wants a questionable character doing these job. Police should back this motion so that they don't have to worry about having to work with somebody of such questionable character. Also, if the sentence is mandatory then judges can't weasel out and the perpetrator can not question the sentence and knows the penalty beforehand.Drive through a highway construction zone-fines for penalties double, there are laws which increase penalties for using a handgun during a crime, there are laws which increase penalties for crimes committed within certain distances of schools; I think it is about time we hold those with the responsibility for our society to a higher standard than the average run-of-the-mill criminal schtick.

hertinedia
hertinedia

@WebDesign This article never mentioned anything about immigrants. Yes, I agree that they are wrongfully using our tax money, however that has nothing to do with immigration in this country. As you should know, unless you are a native american, you too are an immigrant. Take a look at yourself in the mirror every once in a while and ask yourself if this is really what you wanted to be when you grew up.

Peace_2_All
Peace_2_All

@brittanyscrapma 

@brittanyscrapma ---I get what you're saying here.  And, the even bigger issue here besides drugs, sex, etc... is *power*, *greed*, etc...

It seems from what I've read when the guards in prisons are helping the prisoners, it's usually, if not almost always about ..."money"... greed, power.

Kind Regards,

Peace...

brittanyscrapma
brittanyscrapma

@amodel8591 Yea and in EVERY STATE heroin is illegal to posses and distribute.........when was the last time that stopped anybody.

Peace_2_All
Peace_2_All

@PhiniusMcKlintock 

@PhiniusMcKlintock --- I get what you're saying.  And outside of the pregnancy issues, most of the prisons in America, even if they are all pretty much guarded by men, you still have the same main issues of --survival, greed, power, etc...

Peace...

Peace_2_All
Peace_2_All

@mary.waterton 

@mary.waterton --- Your over-the-top political rhetoric makes no sense.  How *specifically* do judges allow the prison to be run by inmates?

Really... it's the greed for money that allows some of the guards to be turned over to the dark side...so to speak.

Regards,

Peace...

Peace_2_All
Peace_2_All

@jota511 

@jota511 --- Your comment about legalizing same-sex marriage is a 'red-herring' fallacious 'non-sequitur' argument.

Neither have anything to do with the other.  Greed, power, and corruption in prisons all across the world are going on all the time.  It's an extremely complex and difficult problem to deal with.

Regards,

Peace...

RoccoJohnson
RoccoJohnson

@CletePurcel 

Prison is a microcosm of the larger society on the outside, which is to say that it is a society within society. There's a "groupie" mentality in some women in greater society where they become irresistibly drawn to celebrity, power, social standing, etc. I'm guessing that very few women make it their goal in life to have a sexual relationship with a prison inmate, or bear a prisoner's children, but these women can become intoxicated by the things I mentioned, in this prison micro-society—the same way some women are on the outside. 

michaelsstrong
michaelsstrong

@DiannBarnes

  • WHY NOT CALL IT WHAT IT IS....OPIUM WAR 3

    The question is if the USA  believes the "Queen of the Sinaloa"  when she said "Mexico's government for allowing drug trafficking to flourish."In Mexico there's a lot of corruption....." then WHY NOT CALL IT WHAT IT IS....

    OPIUM WAR #3 and deal with it as it should have been over the last 40 years ???

    or

    1. We are helping NarcoMex because without the black market the Mexican GDP would be -3% (a worse fall than GREECE)rather than the +6% that the 87 billion dollars of blood money infused into the economy prop it up to be.

    2. USA has leadership that spends more time in NarcoMex CARE than we would believe using free air travel and PARTY ORGFISHing trips to influence the direction of disintegration.... OH I forgot OPIUM WAR this is a normal tactic using nationals to castrate the leadership.....

    3. ignorance, stupidity, apathy, incompetency, Racial Guilt, insecurity, ....the list goes on and the USA SLOWLY is destroyed as the 3000 year old dynasty system in China by Drug CASTRATION


sjmaerz
sjmaerz

@DiannBarnes The Caps Lock key is on the left side of your keyboard, next to the "A".  It appears to be stuck.  Nobody pays any attention to any post written in all caps because it is immediately obvious that you are an idiot.

Peace_2_All
Peace_2_All

@ClintHanrahan 

@ClintHanrahan ---I concur with many of your points.  As I'm sure you are aware, the "prison systems" have become a huge business.  You speak of the really bad criminals, and in many prisons there are a large population of people that are in for very minor drug charges.

I have seen several documentaries on this privatization of the prison system, and the millions of dollars that are at stake.  The more people you can just lock up... the more money is made... and the greed is off the charts.

Anyway... good points on your part.

Regards,

Peace...

WebDesigner
WebDesigner

@hertinedia @WebDesigner Thank you for your comment. I love to be in this country. I dislike the crime we have in this country. We must put these people to work as they are in prison they must work more than 40 hours a week. They must do so to pay off school. There must be a law where it is mandatory for a person to take classes within. There is so much we can do for these people. 

No one born a criminal they choose to become one and why? I'm not sure. 


Jail or Prison. I'm scared to be even close to such a place and i just hope these people become well and loving individuals as we see every day in our daily lives. 

It is hard to have a world with no crime i do understand that but if there is a will there is a way. 

These days they are talking about how immigration and immigrants are bad for our security and society i disagree. Born here or not born here every one have get a chance to live a civilized life as you and other good people around us are living.


May God bless America! The best country in the world!

michaelsstrong
michaelsstrong

@hertinedia @WebDesign

  • I was commenting on the LONG and established Fascist IDEAL that Mexico is RULED by for a long time.. actually the truth is for the last 100 years

    Also that for a large part of that time Mexico has been waging war on the USA....

    Also that the Immagration from NarcoMex is just another well established tactic used int OPIUM war 1-2 and now OPIUM war 3

    Also that the NarcoMex Government creates the environment that keeps the Migration pressure UP and this is some of the ways....

  • A. Women have not had the vote for half of that time

    B. Categories of race only ended in 1952
    1.Spanish born in Fascist Spain

    2. Spanish born outside of Spain

    3. Spanish mixed with other blood

    4. Slaves (Mexico was built by slaves)because Spanish owned them..80% of the population...

    5. Natives who have been exterminated and murdered and raped and.... EVEN NOW...

    C.the PRI was created by an ex president who was influenced by the Nationalist socialist party of Germany NAZI party and ERNST RHOM directly... look it up..

Redman
Redman

I was born here,so I must also be a "Native American"

WebDesigner
WebDesigner

@iamglory @hertinedia @WebDesigner All i am saying is there should be laws within the prison .. do not make it so easy on these people to commit crime and just come out and start committing crime again as they know what the most could happen? Prison again? no worries they got homeboy in there already it wouldn't be hard uh? 

No one is born a criminal. They choose that life and if we provide them a reason to become a better person i do not see why not they will choose a better path?  

michaelsstrong
michaelsstrong

@iamglory @hertinedia @WebDesign I am not living in the Petulant  Left or RIGHT just giving my opinion now for the 7th year and  my analysis  of the situation...  Strange how when I started this  all the Republicans would calll me a lefty...... now what I know is that being in the middle gets you run over from the right and the left and it is a LONELY place having both RADICAL GANGS telling me that they can't help me unless I JOIN their side and support the polarization of the USA.  I DON'T and will not

That said If you don't like what you read above you might just take a shot at pointing out JUST ONE misconception...

Peace_2_All
Peace_2_All

@WebDesigner @iamglory @hertinedia 

@WebDesigner --- I agree basically with what you are saying.  However, one of the overriding problems in the prisons is the greed, money, power, etc... that is being perpetrated by the actual 'prison guards' themselves. 

So, if they're on the take... pretty hard to enforce rules, IMHO.

Regards,

Peace...


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