Baltimore criminal gang ‘took advantage of’ female prison warders
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Wednesday 24 April 2013
Thirteen female warders from a Baltimore jail have been charged with drug trafficking, money laundering and racketeering, after they allegedly got into bed – literally – with members of a national criminal gang.
The women collaborated with the Black Guerrilla Family (BGF) gang to smuggle drugs, mobile phones and other contraband into the Baltimore City Detention Centre (BCDC), claim federal prosecutors, who unveiled the charges on Tuesday.
The gang’s leader, Tavon White, 36, is alleged to have had sex with several of the warders behind bars, fathering five children by four of the female prison officers. White has been at the BCDC awaiting trial for attempted murder since 2009. He and other gang figures were said in the affidavit to have targeted female officers with “low self-esteem and insecurities”. Another inmate, Derius Duncan, allegedly had sex with one warder in a closet, while a second stood guard outside.
Seven inmates and five other people with connections to the gang were also named in the indictment, though one of the accused was reportedly killed in a robbery three weeks ago. The remaining defendants all face charges of racketeering and drug conspiracy, which carry prison sentences of up to 20 years. According to the indictment, the female officers “concealed contraband in their underwear, hair, internally, and elsewhere. Most of the contraband would not be detected by a metal detector, and the chances of being searched effectively were remote.”
The smuggled drugs and phones were then sold to inmates at the BCDC and other Baltimore correctional facilities, and a percentage of the profits distributed among BGF leaders inside and outside the jail. The scheme reportedly netted White $16,000 each month. One gang leader allegedly used the funds to buy cars, and invited the warders to drive a Mercedes-Benz and a BMW that he had purchased.
Baltimore Senator Lisa Gladden told The Washington Post that the problem had been exacerbated by the prison’s high percentage of female officers. “A lot of times, they become smitten with the inmates, [who] talk really sweet and say really nice things, and the [officers] fall for them. You need to have a bunch of rough, ugly men,” she said.
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