13 Officers Indicted: Black Guerrilla Family Inmates Tied to Baltimore Prison Scandal
Apr 24, 2013 02:14 PM EDT
Thirteen female correction officers helped a dangerous national gang operate a drug-trafficking and money-laundering scheme from behind bars, which involved cash payments, sex and access to fancy cars, federal prosecutors said Tuesday, as reported by the Washington Post.
The guards allegedly helped leaders of the Black Guerrilla Family run their criminal enterprise in jail by smuggling cell phones and prescription drugs in their underwear, shoes and hair, news reports said. There also were four guards who were impregnated by the gang leader.
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Tavon White, the gang leader, allegedly used proceeds to buy luxury cars, including a Mercedes-Benz and a BMW, even allowing some of the officers to drive them.
"The inmates literally took over 'the asylum,' and the detention centers became safe havens for BGF," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt, using shorthand for the prison gang's name, the Black Guerrilla Family.
The Black Guerrilla Family was founded in California in the 1960s but now operates nationwide in prisons and on the streets of major U.S. cities, including in Baltimore. It has been increasingly involved in narcotics trafficking, robbery, assault and homicides. By 2006, federal authorities say, the gang became the most dominant at the Baltimore City Detention Center.
White reportedly said in one wiretapped cellphone call to an acquaintance in January, "This is my jail. You understand? I'm dead serious. I make every final call in this jail."
The prison guards were among 25 defendants, including inmates and outside suppliers, charged with racketeering and drug conspiracy. Twenty of the defendants are also charged in a money-laundering conspiracy. Defendants made initial appearances in court Tuesday; they face maximum prison time of 20 years on the racketeering and drug conspiracy charges.