FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
April 16, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
24 INDIVIDUALS ASSOCIATED WITH THE “BLACK GUERILLA FAMILY” GANG INDICTED ON FEDERAL DRUG AND GUN CHARGES
Four Defendants are Current or Former Employees of the Maryland Division of Correction
BALTIMORE, Maryland - A federal grand jury has indicted a total of 24 defendants in two separate indictments for conspiracy to distribute drugs and gun violations related to the gang activities of the “Black Guerilla Family” (BGF), announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. The indictments were returned on April 8, 2009, and unsealed upon the arrests of 14 defendants to date. Three additional defendants were previously in custody. This indictment was the culmination of a joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore City Police Department, Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Division of Corrections and the United States Attorney’s Office.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, “This case reflects an unprecedented commitment by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to combat crime and corruption in state correctional facilities. More than 100 law enforcement officers helped to execute thirteen federal search warrants, seize evidence from sixteen prison cells, and arrest suspects associated with the Black Guerilla Family gang. An intensive investigation that included wiretaps on contraband prison cell phones resulted in allegations that BGF leaders run the gang while incarcerated in state prisons. The alleged crimes include extorting protection money from other inmates and using contraband cell phones to arrange drug deals, approve robberies and arrange attacks on cooperating witnesses. It also is alleged that gang members persuade corrupt correctional officers to participate in the gang’s criminal activities by smuggling drugs, tobacco, cell phones and weapons into prisons.”
Mr. Rosenstein added, “Inmates are cautious about using monitored prison phones to run their criminal enterprises and intimidate witnesses, but they have not been as concerned about their smuggled cell phones. We want the inmates to know that we also can listen in on their cell phone calls.”
"This is the first time that DEA Baltimore provided real time inside intelligence information to the Maryland Department of Corrections,” stated Ava A. Cooper-Davis, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington Division. “Our joint effort resulted in the seizure of drugs and various contraband by DOC officials.”
The following defendants are charged in the indictments:
Eric Brown Indictment:
Eric Brown, age 40, of Baltimore;
Ray Olivis, age 56, of Baltimore;
Deitra Davenport, age 37, of Baltimore;
Rainbow Williams, age 30, of Baltimore;
Tomeka Harris, age 33, of Baltimore;
Marlow Bates, age 23, of Baltimore;
Randolph Edison, age 51, of Baltimore;
Roosevelt Drummond, age 59, of Baltimore;
Zachary Norman, age 52, of Baltimore;
Kevin Glasscho, age 46, of Gwynn Oak (included in both indictments);
Takevia Smith, age 24, of Baltimore;
Terry Robe, age 26, of Glen Burnie;
Asia Burrus, age 22, of Baltimore;
Musheerah Habeebullah, age 27, of Owings Mills;
Kevin Glasscho Indictment:
Kevin Glasscho, age 46, of Gwynn Oak (included in both indictments);
Tyrone Dow, age 42, of Baltimore;
Calvin Robinson, age 53, of Baltimore;
Avon Freeman, age 41, of Baltimore;
James Huntley, age 35, of Baltimore;
Darryl Dawayne Taylor, age 40, of Baltimore;
Joe Taylor-Bey, age 60, of Baltimore;
Darnell Angelo Holmes, age 41, of Baltimore;
Darien Larenz Scipio, age 47, of Baltimore;
Lakia Hatchett, age 29, of Baltimore; and
Cassandra Adams, age 48, of Gwynn Oak.
According to the indictment and a search warrant affidavit unsealed today, the defendants, 16 men and 8 women, were members or associates of the BGF, whose members are active in prisons throughout the United States, including in Maryland. According to the indictment, BGF is active in numerous prison facilities in Maryland, including North Branch Correctional Institution, Western Correctional Institution, Eastern Correctional Institution, Roxbury Correctional Institution, Maryland Correctional Institution – Jessup, Maryland Correctional Institution – Hagerstown, Baltimore City Correctional Center, and the Metropolitan Transition Center in Baltimore.
The indictment alleges that BGF members distributed heroin and “ecstasy” to customers in the Baltimore area. The indictment further alleges that BGF members smuggled heroin, ecstasy, tobacco and other contraband – including cellular telephones – to BGF members in prison, who in turn distributed the contraband to other inmates. According to the indictment and a search warrant affidavit unsealed today, BGF used several different methods to smuggle contraband into prisons, including using couriers who carry the items in body cavities or secrete the contraband in hidden compartments in their shoes, which are then switched with the inmates’ shoes during visits. Court documents indicate that BGF members also smuggled drugs into prisons by hiding the drugs inside of smuggled cellular telephones. According to the search warrant affidavit, BGF members at Metropolitan Transition Center also smuggled in food and liquor, including champagne, vodka, and seafood.
Use of Corrections Employees
According to the indictment and search warrant affidavit, BGF members and associates recruited employees of prison facilities, including Asia Burrus, Musheerah Habeebullah, Takevia Smith, and Terry Robe, to assist them by smuggling drugs and other contraband into prisons, often in exchange for money or other compensation. Burrus and Habeebullah are employed as corrections officers at Metropolitan Transition Center and Maryland Correctional Institution – Jessup, respectively. Court documents indicate that Robe was until recently employed as a corrections officer at the Metropolitan Transition Center but was fired after she was caught attempting to smuggle a cellular phone into MTC for Eric Brown. Court documents indicate that Smith was until recently a kitchen employee at Metropolitan Transition Center but resigned after becoming concerned that she was suspected of smuggling contraband to inmates.
The indictment and search warrant affidavit allege that BGF members used violence and threats of violence to coerce prisoners to pay protection money to BGF. According to the search warrant affidavit, BGF members would supply the extorted inmate with a credit card number of a prepaid credit card, sometimes referred to as a "Green Dot" card, and would direct the inmate to have family members or friends place money onto the card when periodically directed to do so by BGF. The credit card would then be held by a BGF-affiliated corrections officer or by BGF members on the street. If the inmate did not agree to pay for the "protection," then he or she would be targeted for violent crimes while in prison. Court documents also indicate that “Green Dot” cards were often used by BGF members as currency, in lieu of paper money, during the sale of illegal drugs and other contraband within prisons.
Acts of Violence
According to the indictment, BGF members used contraband cellular telephones in prison facilities to notify one another about gang members who were arrested or incarcerated; to discuss police interactions with gang members; and to share with one another the identities of individuals who may be cooperating with law enforcement and to propose actions to be taken against those individuals. According to the indictment and search warrant affidavit, BGF members also used contraband cellular telephones to place “hits” on suspected informants and others who interfered with BGF operations, and BGF members committed or ordered acts of violence to further the gang’s activities, including robberies of drug dealers, and assaults against rival gang members and individuals suspected of cooperating with law enforcement. Specifically, the indictment alleges that on March 13, 2009, Randolph Edison, Roosevelt Drummond and Zachary Norman committed an armed robbery of a drug dealer.
During the operations yesterday and today, agents and officers searched 13 locations in the Baltimore area, and officials with the Division of Corrections Security Operations and the DPSCS Internal Investigative Unit searched 16 prison cells in six facilities across the state of Maryland.
Each of the 24 defendants is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. The defendants in the Eric Brown indictment face a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment on the drug conspiracy charge. Randolph Edison, Roosevelt Drummond and Zachary Norman also face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to rob a drug dealer and a maximum of life in prison for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime and a crime of violence. The defendants in the Kevin Glasscho indictment face a maximum sentence of life for drug conspiracy. Initial appearances for five defendants were held yesterday. Four defendants were detained and three of those are scheduled to have detention hearings on Monday. Initial appearance for nine defendants are scheduled today in federal court in Baltimore, beginning at 1:00 p.m. Another conspirator, Nelson Robinson, age 45, of Baltimore was arrested on a criminal complaint as part of this operation and faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.
An indictment or criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment or criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
Mr. Rosenstein praised Secretary Gary D. Maynard and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Carl J. Kotowski and the Drug Enforcement Administration; Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III and the Baltimore City Police Department; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy and her office, especially Assistant State’s Attorneys Antonio Gioia, Melissa Copeland and Rebecca Cox, for their work in the investigation and prosecution of this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case. Mr. Rosenstein also thanked the Baltimore County Police Department and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation for their assistance in this case.
Mr. Rosenstein also thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason Weinstein, James T. Wallner and Clinton Fuchs, who are prosecuting the case.