A federal grand jury has indicted 18 alleged members of the Bloods gang on racketeering charges and five others face drug charges in Howard County.

The indictment was made public May 8 when 15 of the defendants were arrested. Five others were already in police custody, including one that is being housed at the Chesapeake Detention Center.

According to court documents, the defendants conspired to commit crimes such as aggravated assault and burglary to support the gang and to reinforce its reputation. Gang members and associates also sold drugs to finance the enterprise, including the purchase of reloadable debit cards for incarcerated members, prosecutors allege.

Evidence of the alleged conspiracy was retrieved from wiretaps and from confidential informants and other witnesses, and search warrants were later conducted on the suspects’ homes during a joint investigation by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Howard County and Baltimore City police departments.

Each of the 18 defendants charged in the racketeering conspiracy and each of the five defendants charged in narcotics conspiracies faces up to 20 years in prison, according to The Associated Press.

One of the indicted, Michael Johnson of Columbia, Md., was being held at the Chesapeake Detention Facility on federal armed robbery charges and allegedly conducted criminal activity for the gang from his cell.

The gang-related indictments come just weeks after 13 female correctional officers, seven inmates and five others with ties to the jailhouse gang called the Black Guerrilla Family were charged on conspiracy, drug possession and distribution and money laundering in a scheme to smuggle drugs, cellphones and other contraband into the Baltimore City Detention Center and other corrections facilities.


Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO