BALTIMORE — Severe corruption has been exposed in the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC) with 13 corrections officers indicted for racketeering, laundering and having sex with jailed inmates involved in the Black Guerrilla Family (BGF).
In total 25 people, including seven inmates and five coconspirators, are facing federal charges for racketeering, smuggling contraband and conspiring to run operations of the BFG from within the correctional facility that allegedly began in 2009. At the center of the distortion is leader Tavon White, serving a sentence for attempted murder. White ran BGF operations and impregnated four correctional officers while incarcerated.
“During the time Mr. White has been incarcerated in Baltimore City the indictment alleges he ran the operations of the Black Guerrilla behind bars and that he corrupted a number of correctional officers by developing personal relationships with them, by developing sexual relationships with them and by paying them in order to facilitate gang activities behind bars,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.
A January 2013 phone conversation detailed in a press release by the FBI demonstrates the authority White felt he possessed within the facility.
“This is my jail. You understand that? I’m dead serious…I make every final call in this jail… and nothing go past me…Any of my brothers that deal with anybody, it’s gonna come to me,” White said.
The 13 female correctional officers were in contact with outside BGF drug suppliers and would provide drugs and cell phones to BGF inmates. According to FBI Special Agent Stephen Vogt, another phone conversation recorded White saying profits for a “slow month” came in at approximately $16,000.
“This situation enabled BGF members to continue to run their criminal enterprise within the jail and on the streets of Baltimore,” Vogt said.
The FBI reported that White impregnated four correctional officers during his incarceration, with one officer giving birth to two children fathered by White. Two correctional officers, Jennifer Owens and Katera Stevenson got tattoos reading “Tavon” while White gave Owens a diamond ring and four other correctional officers luxury cars in exchange for their illegal services. According to an FBI affidavit reported on by the Baltimore Sun, gang members were told to specifically target female correctional officers with “low self-esteem, insecurities and certain physical attributes.”
Gary Maynard, secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said he takes full responsibility for the malfeasance.
“It becomes embarrassing for me when we expose ourselves and we participate in an investigation that’s going to show what’s going on in our jails that I’m not proud of,” Maynard said.
Maynard ordered that every employee at BCDC be polygraphed and has said that policy and security changes are coming. Polygraphs began Sunday.
“Ninety-nine percent of our correctional officers do their jobs with integrity, honesty and respect,” Maynard said in a statement. “Today’s indictment, along with those in the past, show that our department will not stand idly by and let a few bad actors affect the security of our institutions. Nor will we allow them to impugn the reputation of the men and women who come to work every day and go about their jobs honorably. Those who would break the law should know we will always work tirelessly with our federal, state and local partners to root out corruption.”