Thirteen female correctional officers, seven inmates and five others with gang ties have been charged with plotting to smuggle drugs, cellphones and other contraband into Baltimore’s jail and other corrections facilities, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.
The ring involved sex between inmates and guards that led to four of the officers becoming pregnant, one of them twice, by Tavon White (pictured), leader of a gang called the Black Guerrilla Family, according to an indictment.
The indictment unsealed Tuesday said that White, who is being held at the Baltimore City Detention Center awaiting trial on a charge of attempted murder, once boasted in a wiretapped phone call: “This is my jail …. I make every final call in this jail.”
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. Some of the female officers even tattooed White’s name on their bodies, according to the indictment.
FBI agent Stephen Vogt said White “effectively raised the BGF flag over the Baltimore City Detention Center,” and the indictment brings that flag down.
The indictment claims the gang ran the scheme from inside the detention center and charges gang members and corrections officers with conspiracy, drug possession and distribution and money laundering.
Drugs brought into the prison included marijuana, Oxycodone, Xanax, Klonopin and Vicodin, according to the indictment.
The gang was divided into “bubble regimes,” some of which had special functions such as collecting dues. Members were subjected to a code of conduct and sanctioned for breaking the rules through fines, beatings, stabbings and murder, prosecutors added.
BGF has become the dominant gang at the prison complex, where members used the contraband cellphones to arrange drug smuggling and sexual encounters as well as to warn of investigations and order assaults and murders, according to the court documents. One of the 25 charged in the scheme died April 1, one day before the indictment was returned, prosecutors said.
Authorities said imprisoned gang members paid for items, including luxury cars for the corrupt officers, by texting the 14-digit PIN numbers of reloadable prepaid credit cards. The correctional officers were able to avoid contraband screenings by using entrances other than the main entrance where employees are screened, the indictment said.
However, screening policies and procedures at the main entrance were “completely inadequate to prevent smuggling” with female officers concealing contraband in their underwear, hair and internally, according to officials. Corrections officers are also rotated through screening duties, allowing corrupt officers to wait until co-conspirators were assigned to the entrance, the indictment said.