On April 23, federal prosecutors announced that more than a dozen Maryland state prison guards assisted in a drug trafficking and money laundering scheme by gang operators behind bars. The officers were charged that day with an indictment of federal racketeering. The prosecutors said that thirteen female and two male corrections officers “essentially handed over control of a Baltimore jail to gang leaders,” according to the Washington Post. The same fifteen guards, in addition to seven inmates and five gang members outside of the prison, were accused of participating in the scheme.
The allegations state that the guards helped Black Guerilla Family leaders continue their criminal endeavors in prison through trafficking cell phones, prescription pills, and other illegal imports in their shoes, hair, and underwear. Some of the officers were allegedly rewarded for their actions, such as the incident where one gang leader purchased luxury cars with his proceeds and permitted some officers to drive his vehicles.
The indictment made claims that the same inmate, Tavon White, impregnated four of the corrections officers. One of the guards allegedly became pregnant twice by this man, and another allegedly guarded a closet where the inmate and another guard engaged in sexual relations. Furthermore, two of them got tattoos of the inmate’s first name, Tavon. White, 36, has fathered five children since he was sent to jail for attempted murder charges in 2009, four of whose mothers are correctional officers.
FBI Special Agent in Charge, Stephen E. Vogt, observed that, “the inmates literally took over ‘the asylum’ and the detention centers became safe havens for [the Black Guerilla Family].”
Vogt continued to specifically say that White “effectively raised the [Black Guerilla Family] over the Baltimore City Detention Center.”
In a wiretapped cell phone call, White told the other end: “This is my jail. You understand that? I’m dead serious. I make every final call in this jail.”
The Black Guerilla Family started in the 1960s in California and, over the course of thirty years, became a national gang. According to the Justice Department,they were first introduced to Maryland prisons in the 90s.
The Secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Gary Maynard, stated, “Ninety-nine percent of our correctional officers do their jobs with integrity, honesty, and respect.”
Maynard further stated that he is partially to blame for this incident: “It’s totally on me. I don’t make any excuses … we will move up the chain of command, and people will be held accountable.”