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Behind The Walls Of Steelside: State Moves To Retake BCDC From Black Gorilla Family

  • SumoMe

I’m not quite sure how long ago the Maryland State Division of Corrections asked the Federal Bureau of Investigations to conduct a covert investigations into the secret dealings behind the walls of the Baltimore City Detention Center (a.k.a Steel Side), but last week Federal Prosecutors dropped a bomb shell on the doorsteps of the office of the Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services when it revealed that an inmate was running the facility with the aid of female Corrections Employees. Through wiretapped phone conversations the agency learned that drugs and other forms of contraband were being smuggled inside BCDC by many of their own employees. In total 13 female Correctional Officers were taken into custody and booked at the Federal Court House in downtown Baltimore. The F.B.I. learned that the employees were successful in bringing drugs, cigarettes, and cellphones into the facility via checkpoints with lax security under the direction of an inmate held for murder charges name Tavon White. Standard protocol requires all personnel entering the facility to be frisked and physically patted down, from the Commissioner, the Wardens, and  on down to every Correctional Employee. It’s not uncommon for contraband to enter the facility at these locations because if the supervisor or Correctional Officer working the entry post is in on the illegal activity, the contraband gets inside unabated. Also, there are other entries to the jail that are considered soft areas which personnel receive minimal security scrutiny or encounters with supervision. Although the jail policy requires all Corrections personnel responding for duty to enter through the main entrance of the jail via the E. Eager Street entrance at the Command Center, the policy is rarely enforced. The Federal indictment spells out this exact scenario. Corrections personnel are also allowed to return to their vehicles in the middle of their shift, though the state has no written policy barring such activity, it’s a matter that should have been picked up on by the jail’s administration, especially for personnel who develop a pattern of exiting the facility during their shift to go to their cars, because contraband is often introduced to the facility during these instances. The indictment spells out a volume of narcotics being introduced to BCDC by various Corrections employees from 2009 up until the unsealing of the subject Federal indictment. Narcotics brought into the jail by jail guards were controlled substances, especially Schedule I and II semi-synthetic opioids such as oxycodone (including Percocet, OxyContin), Methadone, Buprenorphine (including Suboxone), and Schedule III and IV benzodiazepine drugs (including Xanax, Klonopin) and hydrocodone (including Lortab, Lorcet, Vicodin); as well as Marijuana. The kinds of controlled substances replete within BCDC is extremely alarming, and shows many of the jail’s detainees were more than likely high on a variety of feel good kinds of prescription drugs. The narcotics also tend to subdue patients in a variety of fashions chemically, and it’s simply unconscionable that Corrections employees were unable to detect telltale signs of inmates under the influence of some kind of substance. The inability of jail staff to not only identify inmates potentially under the influence, but an obvious culture of apathy existed, and indicates just how widespread  introduction of drugs and other contraband into BCDC appears to have been.  The obvious drug problem amongst BCDC inmates appear to have been the least of the jail’s concerns according to the Federal indictment. The investigation revealed a well organized enterprise that included Racketeering Conspiracy, Conspiracy to Contribute and Possess Drugs with Intent to Distribute Drugs, Possession with Intent to Distribute Drugs, Money Laundering Conspiracy, Aiding and Abetting, and all while within the confines of a state run Correctional facility where the main players were state employees, either active members, or associates of the notoriously violent “Black Gorilla Family Prison Gang.” The scheme was very elaborate when you consider no cash actually changed hands within BCDC. The State enacted new policies years ago prohibiting state inmates from being allowed to physically carry cash within a Correctional setting. Corrections employees smuggled cell phones into the facility which were used to make drug orders to BGF gang members outside the jail. The narcotics would then be turned over to jail guards who smuggled the drugs into the jail. Payments were made using reloadable prepaid credit cards, especially “Green Dot” cards which are available for purchase at a variety of retail establishments. It’s unclear whose the brain child the money laundering scheme originated from, but Feds say Tavon White ran the jail with consent from BCDC Administrators, with the understanding that he was to maintain order. The jail is known for it’s violence and it appears that the BCDC Administration made a deal with the devil, effectively condoning widespread drug solicitation and drug abuse to occur as a trade off to repel violence and disturbances within the facility. That assertion is mere rumor and speculation, but highly believable considering the fact that BCDC isn’t immune from the ballooning jail populations across the country where inmate populations out number prison staffs by the thousands. In fact, the kind of criminal enterprise that federal authorities say Tavon White ran at BCDC is old news. The institution has a storied past of illegal activity where high profile inmates have been able to successfully garner favors, and partner with Correctional staff who  smuggle drugs and other contraband into the facility. In 1998 “Drug Kingpin” Anthony Jones was recorded by the Feds in wiretapped conversations giving orders to have witnesses against him killed. Those calls were made on cellphones smuggled into the jail by Correctional Officers. Jones’ drug gang was one of the most notorious and violent within the state, with a body count of 23 homicides in which three were carried at his behest while being detained at BCDC. Federal Prosecutors unsuccessfully sought the death penalty in the Anthony Jones case, making him the first person the U.S. Government sought to kill via capitol punishment in the state of Maryland. In that same year another notorious “Drug Kingpin” name Liddy Jones got caught by the Feds trying to continue a drug enterprise while locked up at the jail. Just like Tavon White and Anthony Jones, Liddy recruited young Corrections Officers to pick up drugs from his girlfriend’s bail bonds business, and have it smuggled inside the BCDC facility. During the Liddy Jones ordeal, I recall a jail Shift Commander chastising Corrections staff during line up about staff having beaten Liddy up. The Captain asked the entire shift, “Of all the inmates in this building, why would anybody put their hands on that man”, I recall the incident as if it happened just moments ago, and denotes exactly how far up the chain of the jail’s administration some inmates are capable of reaching. Not to get off topic of this article’s main subject, but to drive home the point how much influence some inmates carry behind the walls of BCDC, one of the jail goons that beat up Liddy Jones was targeted by the Commissioner of Pretrial Detention and Services. The jail’s UI Unit (Internal Affairs) conducted a covert operation to set the officer up, but the plan was foiled when other employees unknowingly disrupted the operation. A plan had been set in motion to plant narcotics on the officer in an effort to have him fired. The Officer was a problematic employee who submitted Use of Forces multiple times a week. Some Corrections employees have worked in facilities for more that two decades and have never had to file such paperwork their entire career. Engaging in constant physical altercations with inmates usually only meant one thing. The guard has a hand problem. I have never witnessed his incidents of using force on inmates, probably because he was smart enough not to do it in my presence knowing I would never lie, but I have walked pass the officer while he was in heated dialogue with inmates, only to come back pass observing the inmate visibly crying, and agitated claiming the officer had struck him. BCDC’s administration could never catch the officer because his reports were always well written and fellow officers always backed up his stories. So, Commissioner Lamont Flannigan set him up to get rid of him. The plan failed and the Corrections officer who was suppose to make the plant whinded up placing the drugs on another jail guard. That officer also had a storied pass of being a dirty guard as well. He was arrested inside BCDC, walked next door to Baltimore City Booking Intake Center (BCBIC) and formally charge with narcotics possession, and introducing contraband into a State Correctional Facility. It wasn’t until weeks later during an inmate transportation detail, that the officer who planted the drugs explained to me that IU had screwed him over. The officer was white, had ambitions of joining the Investigative Unit for the department, and told me the entire plan. He told me drugs were given to him from the IU vault (where confiscated narcotics are kept awaiting destruction) solely for the purpose of planting them on a specific officer. He explained that he did it with the promise from BCDC IU Officials that they would help him gain entry to the Division of Corrections Investigative Unit and the officials reneged when he was unsuccessful in getting the drugs on the targeted officer. Strangely, those drugs that the officer was accused of having in his possession suddenly disappeared, and probably because they were placed back inside the IU vault exactly where the officer told me they had been taken from, and to maintain accountability for the vault’s inventory. Upon learning this I promptly notified the officer who had been falsely charged, gave a sworn deposition to his legal counsel, and aided the officer in successfully defending his case. That Officer eventually re-obtained his job and settled a civil suit against the state out of court (true story). The culture and vicious nature of personnel inside BCDC has always been one of love and hate. Jail Guards who act as goons (muscle) for the administration will at times become disciplined or targeted if they cross the line, like in the Liddy Jones beating. It’s an entirely different world behind the walls of BCDC and the current case is simply a continued pattern of corruption and criminal activity spearheaded by dirty jail officials who have a long history of similar wrong doing without any accountability what so ever. Word got around that I had blown the lid off of the IU’s dirty dealings and I was suddenly summoned to IU and informed that a confirmed threat on my life had been made by members of the Black Gorilla Family. A letter had been intercepted by Corrections Officials at the Maryland Corrections Institute in Jessup (MCIJ or the House) that contained vital information from my personnel file (i.e. home address, vehicle registration, etc.). I went straight to the Department of Justice after learning this, because it had become as personal as it gets. There would be a huge stumbling block initially, because I went to my Congressman Elijah Cummings to have his office facilitate my complaint with DOJ, and to my surprise I learned that was a huge mistake. It just so happened that journalist friends of mine advised me that the Congressman was in fact roommates with Commissioner Lamont Flannigan at Howard University. The Congressman’s staff stone walled me and gave me the run arounds until I brought to their attention that I knew Cummings and Flannigan had close ties, and threatened to go to the news media. My complaint was taken and the Congressman’s office facilitated a communication to the DOJ on my behalf, and I subsequently forwarded a volume of documents to the DOJ outlining the culture, and activities occurring inside the walls of BCDC. Some time went by and Flannigan was removed as Commissioner of pretrial Detention and Services. I would like to think that some of what I gave the Feds may have contributed to how the F.B.I. and other state agencies look at the administration at the Baltimore City Detention Center. Over the years I am sure similar criminal activity by Corrections employees and officials have occurred on a smaller scale that was probably utilized as a feather in the Feds cap, to learn whose who so they could catch much bigger fish down the road. Perhaps the patience in such a long term investigation is what makes this indictment such an incredible accomplishment by the Federal Government. They set by, watched, listened, and gathered sufficient evidence to obtain a sweeping indictment of corrupt Corrections Employees that is actually being felt as high as the Governor’s Office. The indictment outlines detailed events of multiple Corrections Employees, Inmates, and co-defendants outside of the jail manipulating security protocol to bring drugs and other contraband inside a Correctional Facility, and engaging in criminal enterprise through sex, material, racketeering and money laundering with the use of prepaid credit cards. The enterprise afforded the BGF leaders finances sufficient to purchase luxury cars for female corrections employees who the gang’s leader had fathered children with. The indictment literally spells out how Tavon White boasted in wiretapped phone conversations that he runs the jail, that everything comes through him, that he is the law in the jail, and he has the final word on everything. Now as disturbing as that may appear to many following this case, it’s even more alarming that females were impregnated by a known inmate gang leader, which means at some point they were physically on the job carrying babies that were conceived right there within the walls of the jail, and not one Corrections Employee or official had a clue what was going on. That’s simply unbelievable, unacceptable, and points to a more realistic perspective that people simply turned a blind eye to what was going on. It’s exacerbated even more realizing that some of these women actually carried two pregnancy terms by the exact same inmate. Moreover, Secretary Gary Maynard’s perception that most Corrections Employees are honest, hardworking employees with integrity is not credible what so ever. The volume of drugs and the various class of narcotics the indictment claims were brought into the jail is sufficient to demonstrate that people other than the BGF members and their associates had to have known something about this illegal activity. The rationalizations have already started surfacing that people knew and reported the activity, but jail officials turned a blind eye, did nothing, and were eventually silenced after having been labeled snitches. Some say people were just scared of potential violence being enacted upon them by the gang, so they just went to work ignored the activity so they could take care of their families, which is completely understandable, and could also be challenged with questions as to why they continued to come to work everyday in fear. It’s a said commentary when employees paid by the people on the right side of the law have become fearful of carrying out the duty of protecting the public from the worst within our society. Those who turn a blind eye are just as culpable as the various conspirators named in this indictment and are not worthy of the commissions they have been afforded to protect the people of the state of Maryland. In the wake of this sweeping Federal Indictment, the Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services has moved his departmental Headquarters from Towson, Maryland to the Baltimore City Detention Center in downtown Baltimore indefinitely. Secretary Gary Maynard has also ordered all Administrators at BCDC to undergo lie detector test in a bold an unprecedented move in which the integrity of every employee will now be under scrutiny, in an effort to take back the State run Baltimore City Detention from the Black Gorilla Family Prison Gang. To my former colleagues and friends who remain at BCDC, remember me, and remember that I never turned my eyes away when the call came to lift up the people in justice and righteousness. God be with you all!   “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

Indictment by Erin Fuchs

The People’s Champion
I’m David Adams

Self proclaimed geek, Advocate for the homeless, Social Change, Crime Blogger, and mobile technology enthusiast. Recognized journalist and Human Interest Writer championing the plight of the masses whom are without a voice of their own.

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