The Baltimore corrections system had 25 members indicted in a major scandal that included 13 prison guards for charges that ranged from drug conspiracy to racketeering to money laundering. The operation was run through a prison gang where inmates virtually were in control of the jail where they had been incarcerated.
Officials from federal law enforcement said the defendants either conspired with or had taken bribes from members of the gang Black Guerilla Family, to smuggle cell phones, drugs and other types of contraband into or out of the Detention Center in Baltimore City as well as several other facilities that were connected to the Baltimore City facility. Four corrections officers, who are female and named in the indicted, are alleged to have become pregnant by the accused ringleader of the gang, Tavon White, an inmate.
The scheme was in operation between 2009 until this past February, when authorities discovered it through inspections carried out by the Department of Public Safety in Maryland.
However, prior to it being dismantled, the gang was able to operate with close to complete impunity.
White is at the center of the alleged activities. He was accused of attempted murder in 2009 and was at the detention center awaiting his trial. In one transcript of a cell phone conversation that was intercepted he appeared to implicate himself as the gang’s leader by asserting that the only way anything happened in the jail was through his approval.
The recent indictment says that inmates paid co-conspirators through prepaid Green Dot Money Pak cards and would even purchase expensive items for the guards who worked with gang members. White is alleged to have purchased a diamond ring for one female guard and purchased BMW, Acura and Mercedes Benz for other guards.
One has to wonder how lawmakers will come to address the culture of solidarity amongst prisoners and their care takers given the many years of economic decline of the Baltimore area where ironically those who are charged to oversee the prisoners often share similar circumstances, deprivations and challenges as the prisoners themselves. Never mind the culture at hand where resorting to crime is often tolerated and condoned….