Baltimore BGF Commander Pleads Guilty to Racketeering

September 14, 2010

Baltimore, Maryland - Todd Duncan, a/k/a Donnie, age 36, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to conduct and participate in the activities of the Black Guerilla Family (BGF), a racketeering enterprise.

The guilty plea was 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 Patricia C. Jessamy; and Secretary Gary D. Maynard and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

“Due to his activities as the ‘street commander’ of the BGF in Baltimore, Mr. Duncan faces many years in a federal prison,” stated Ava A. Cooper-Davis, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “The ‘Commander’ will now have a serious reduction in rank and will wear a prison uniform thanks to the efforts of many law enforcement agencies and prosecutors working together to make Baltimore a safer place.”

According to the 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.

According to the plea agreement, 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 Duncan’s plea agreement, from 2006 through June 2010, Duncan was a member of BGF and participated in the drug trafficking activities of the gang. Specifically, Duncan was the overall city-wide commander of the BGF and at times acted as a source of supply of heroin to members of the BGF; operated street level heroin shops; utilized individuals to store, process and sell heroin for his enrichment and for the enrichment of BGF; and arranged for the sale of bulk quantities of heroin to various wholesale customers.

Duncan admits that as the city-wide commander of the BGF he attended meetings of high-ranking members of the BGF at locations in and around Baltimore City. During these meetings, gang activities, including drug trafficking, money laundering, commercial robberies and retaliation against rival gangs and BGF members, who broke protocol, were discussed. As the city-wide commander, Duncan had ultimate authority to authorize the actions discussed during these meetings.

Duncan faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. As part of the plea agreement, Duncan and the government have agreed that Duncan should be sentenced to 15 years in prison. U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. has scheduled sentencing for January 20, 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; 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 are prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.

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