BGF Leader Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison for Participating in a Racketeering Conspiracy
Co-Defendant Sentenced on Drug Charges
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Ray Olivis, a/k/a Ronnie Hargrove, Uncle Ray, Unc and Ray Ray, age 57, of Baltimore, Maryland, yesterday to 11 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release for conspiracy to conduct and participate in the activities of the Black Guerilla Family (BGF), a racketeering enterprise. Judge Quarles sentenced co-defendant Erik Ushry, a/k/a E, age 27, of Baltimore, to 57 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin.
The sentences were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division; Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein; and Secretary Gary D. Maynard of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
“Today's sentencing of Mr. Olivis closes the book on an individual who enforced rules and regulations for the BGF organization,” stated Drug Enforcement Administration, Special Agent in Charge, Ava Cooper-Davis. “Mr. Olivis and Mr. Ushry will now have plenty time to think about how to obey rules and regulations while serving time in a Federal prison,” added Cooper-Davis.
According to Olivis’ plea agreement, the Black Guerilla Family (BGF), is a nationwide gang operating in prison facilities and major cities throughout the United States. Founded in California in the 1960s and introduced into the Maryland correctional system in the mid 1990s, BGF in Maryland is increasingly active on the streets of Baltimore City, as well as in various prison facilities in Maryland.
BGF conducts its affairs through a pattern of criminal activity, including: narcotics trafficking, robbery; extortion; bribery; retaliation against a witness or informant; money laundering; and commercial robbery. BGF members arrange to have drugs, tobacco, cell phones, food and other contraband smuggled into Maryland prison facilities, sometimes recruiting and paying employees of prison facilities, including corrections officers, to assist BGF and its members in the smuggling of contraband, the collection of intelligence and in the concealment of BGF's criminal activities. BGF members use violence and threats of violence to coerce incarcerated persons to pay protection money to BGF, to enforce the BGF code of conduct, and to increase their control of the Baltimore City drug trade and the underground "prison economy" in Maryland correctional facilities.
According to his plea, from 2006 through June 2010, Olivis was one of the leaders of BGF, enforcing discipline in the gang and directing and participating in the drug trafficking activities of the gang. It was forseeable to Olivis that during the conspiracy he possessed with intent to distribute between 700 grams and one kilogram of heroin. According to Ushry’s plea agreement, from September 2009 through April 2010, Ushry distributed between 80 and 100 grams of heroin in and around Baltimore as part of the conspiracy.
Specifically, while BGF leader and co-defendant Eric Brown was incarcerated, he extorted a fellow inmate for protection from violence at the hands of BGF members and assaulted another inmate who failed to make timely extortion payments to BGF. Brown and Olivis transferred some of the proceeds of BGF’s illegal activities, including drug trafficking and extortion, into prepaid debit card accounts. In addition, Brown arranged for contraband to be smuggled into correctional facilities through the use of couriers and corrections employees. Co-defendant Rainbow Williams delivered contraband, including narcotics, to corrections officers to be smuggled into correctional facilities, sometimes paying the officer for smuggling the contraband into prison. Williams even attempted to smuggle contraband into a Maryland correctional facility via a pair of tennis shoes, but he was discovered by corrections officials.
During intercepted phone conversations, Olivis and Williams discussed the day to day operations of BGF, violations of BGF protocols, and the sanctions that should be ordered against the members violating those protocols. In a phone conversation, Olivis and other BGF members discussed retaliating against a suspected informant and plans to assault an inmate who had been involved in the murder of another BGF member’s brother.
Eric Brown, a/k/a E and EB, age 42, of Baltimore, was sentenced to 12 years in prison on August 18, 2011. Rainbow Williams, age 32, of Baltimore, was sentenced to 151 months in prison on August 30, 2011.
Mr. Rosenstein praised the DEA; Baltimore City Police Department; Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office; and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services for their work in this investigation and prosecution; as well as the Baltimore County Police Department; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington D.C. Field Office, for their assistance.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked Baltimore City Assistant State’s Attorneys Antonio Gioia, Miabeth Marosy and Rebecca Cox, for their work in the investigation and prosecution, and Assistant United States Attorneys James T. Wallner and Clinton J. Fuchs, who prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.