BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Nine people, including three correctional officers, have been indicted in an alleged racketeering conspiracy at the Chesapeake Detention Facility in downtown Baltimore.
The accused include three correctional officers, four inmates and two "outside facilitators," according to an announcement from the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland.
"The indictment alleges a troubling amount of corruption," U.S. Attorney Robert Hur said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
The defendants are:
- Correctional officer Darren Parker, 45, of Baltimore
- Correctional officer Andre Davis, 35, of Baltimore
- Correctional officer Talaia Youngblood, 35, of Randallstown
- Detainee James "Mook" Hair, 29
- Detainee Donte "Cruddy" Thomas, 33,
- Detainee Bernard "Tony" Bey, 50
- Detainee Andre "Arnie" Webb, 33
- "Outside facilitator" Lynette Carlest, 48, of Baltimore
- "Outside facilitator" Jasmine Coleman, 28, of Baltimore
The group allegedly smuggled contraband, including drugs, tobacco and cell phones, into the jail beginning at least as far back as 2016. The group was indicted last week and the indictment was unsealed Wednesday, according to the announcement.
The indictment alleges the correctional officers smuggled the items through security on their persons, in clothing, bags and in food containers. Once the items were inside, the officers would leave them in certain locations like laundry rooms and janitorial carts or deliver them to inmates' cells.
The detainees would then sell the items for a significant profit and pay the correctional officers using apps like CashApp, the indictment alleges.
"Their criminal activities did not change much while they were inside the building," said Jennifer Boone with the FBI's Baltimore field office.
Hur pointed out the case does not allege any violent crime, but cell phones have been previously used to direct crime from inside facilities.
"Cell phones, they can do things like further smuggling and bribery conspiracies and getting drugs within prison walls, but they can have very real consequences with regard to public safety," he said.
All nine defendants could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
The alleged conspiracy is the latest in a series of similar schemes. Across the street in 2013, the feds indicted 44 people in a racketeering conspiracy, laying out how the Black Guerilla Family ran the Baltimore Detention Center.
Two dozen corrections officers were convicted in the case. The BGF leader, Tavon White, admitted to impregnating four correctional officers.
Wednesday's indictment alleges a sexual relationship between a detainee and an officer.
The state, which runs the federal pretrial jail, said the incident is not representative of the 6,000 direct contact staff and they're evolving their screening techniques.
"Over the years, Corrections has adjusted to that with new science and new technology," Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Robert Green said.
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