BaltimoreCityDetentionCenterJail

Another chapter in the sex, drugs and corruption scandal at the Baltimore City Detention Center unfolded last week, as five former correctional officers, an inmate and a drug supplier entered guilty pleas, and another correctional officer was sentenced, for their roles in a racketeering conspiracy run by the Black Guerilla Family.

The city was rocked last year by the news of the BGF gang’s extensive illegal enterprise, including smuggling drugs, cell phones, tobacco and other contraband into the downtown jail and other facilities. The investigation has, so far, swept up BGF leader Tavon White and 43 other defendants, including four correctional officers who were impregnated by White.

U.S. District Judge Ellen L.  Hollander on Sept. 13 sentenced defendant Sean Graves, 48, of Windsor Mill, Maryland, to 28 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for participating in the conspiracy.

Earlier last week, four former correctional officers, Angela Johnson, 35; Antonia Allison, 28; and Javonne Lunkin, 29, all of Baltimore; and Kevin Armstrong, 27, of Gwynn Oak, Md., pleaded guilty to participating in the illegal enterprise. And the week before that former correctional officer Tiffany Linder, 28; former inmate Derius Duncan, 24, both of Baltimore; and Linnard Wortham, a/k/a “Stu,” 29, of Pikesville, Maryland, pleaded guilty to the racketeering conspiracy. Wortham also pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.

The former correctional officers admitted they smuggled tobacco, marijuana, Percocet, Suboxones and other prescription pills, along with other banned items into the jail for distribution by BGF inmates. They also warned White of impending searches and he, in turn, warned other gang members. In return for their assistance, the officers received payments, gifts or a share of the profits.

Wortham supplied contraband, including marijuana, that was smuggled into BCDC. Officers such as Jasmine Thornton and Kimberly Dennis received the contraband from Wortham and then smuggled the contraband to BCDC inmates, including Duncan and Jamar Anderson.  Law enforcement executed a search warrant at Wortham’s residence on Nov. 20, 2013, and seized crack cocaine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and $4,000.

Sentencing dates for have been set for January and February. The defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for the racketeering conspiracy. Wortham also faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison for the drug offense.

To date, 34 of the 44 defendants charged in the conspiracy have pleaded guilty, including White and 21 correctional officers. One defendant has died.  Trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 17, for the remaining defendants.

Investigations into the gang’s activities and the network of those who assisted them are ongoing, officials said.

 

Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO