Fourteen more correctional officers at the Baltimore City Detention Center have been indicted on corruption charges, shedding more light on the relationship between the Black Guerrilla Family and the officers inside the jail.
The indictments were unsealed on Thursday.
Read more from the Baltimore Sun:
Prosecutors do not say the gang has continued its reign following the initial bust, but they say wiretaps and witness interviews have revealed just how much power the BGF accumulated.
As many as three-quarters of the approximately 650 officers at the Baltimore City Detention Center were involved in contraband smuggling, witnesses said in court documents, contradicting assertions by corrections department officials that the “overwhelming majority” of staff members at the jail were clean.
Some state lawmakers said Thursday that the latest allegations call into question whether state officials are moving fast enough to review possible gang ties among officers still working at the jail.
The allegations unsealed in April — packed with lurid details of sex behind bars and brazen boasts by gang leader Tavon White that he controlled the jail — set off widespread criticism of Gov. Martin O’Malley and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
Twenty-five defendants, 13 of them corrections officers, were charged in that indictment. Sixteen of them, including White, have pleaded guilty to racketeering.
Eight of the 14 officers have already left the department; the other six have been suspended.
Some of the more blatant offenders include Officer Milshenna Peoples, who was captured on surveillance footage being fondled by an inmate. Sergeant Michelle Ricks was caught “singing a song of allegiance” to BGF.
“Court documents allege the BGF members recruited correctional officers through personal and often sexual relationships, as well as bribes, and that some officers traded sex for money,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a statement.
Tavon White, the leader of the Black Guerrilla Family who impregnated four guards inside of the Baltimore City Detention Center, pleaded guilty to federal racketeering conspiracy charges in August.
White, nicknamed “Bulldog,” admitted to smuggling drugs and phones inside of the jail. During a “slow month,” he claimed he earned more than $15,000 with the assistance of a “harem of correctional officers,” reports the Baltimore City Paper.
Of the six correctional officers in question, four gave birth to White’s children, and 2 tattooed his name on their bodies — one on the neck and other other on the wrist.
According to an FBI release, the corruption was deep and pervasive.
Read from FBI release below:
A federal grand jury returned a racketeering indictment charging 25 individuals, including 13 correctional officers with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, for conspiring to run operations of the Black Guerilla Family (BGF) gang inside correctional facilities. All 25 defendants also are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute drugs, and 20 of the defendants are charged with money laundering conspiracy.
“Correctional officers were in bed with BGF inmates, in violation of the first principle of prison management,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Preventing prison corruption requires intensive screening at prison entrances and punishment for employees who consort with inmates or bring cell phones and drugs into correctional facilities.”
“This investigation revealed the pervasive nature of prison corruption in Baltimore City’s Detention Centers,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt. “Such corruption causes the FBI to divert crucial investigative resources away from addressing violence on the streets of Baltimore. In this case, the inmates literally took over ‘the asylum,’ and the detention centers became safe havens for the BGF. Such a situation cannot be tolerated. Law enforcement should not have to concern itself with criminal subjects who have already been arrested and relegated to detention centers.”
White once boasted in a wiretapped phone call: “This is my jail. You understand that? I’m dead serious … I make every final call in this jail … and nothing go past me … Any of my brothers that deal with anybody, it’s gonna come to me. Before [somebody] stab somebody, they gotta run it through me,” according to the indictment.
In at least one case, a corrections officer stood guard outside a closet at the jail so a corrections officer and an inmate could have sex, prosecutors said in court documents.
FBI agent Stephen Vogt said White “effectively raised the BGF flag over the Baltimore City Detention Center,” and the indictment brings that flag down.
White has already been sentenced to 20 years for second-degree attempted murder in what is described as “drug deal” gone bad. He faces another 20 years on the additional charges and is due to be sentenced in February 2014.