News

Former Corrections Employee Sentenced to over Three Years in Prison for Participating in the Racketeering Activities of the BGF Gang

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9, 2011

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Alicia Simmons, age 34, of Baltimore, Maryland, today to 37 months 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.

The sentence 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 Gregg L. Bernstein; and Secretary Gary D. Maynard and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

“Prisons are much more secure when the criminals are the people in the cells and the keys are in the hands of law-abiding correctional officers,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.

According to court documents, 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 court documents, 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.

Simmons admitted that from 2006 through June 2010, while she was a correctional officer employed by the Division of Corrections for the State of Maryland, she was a BGF associate and smuggled contraband items, including cellular telephones, tobacco, and drugs into correctional institutions where she was working for various inmates, including members of the BGF and other gangs. Simmons further admitted that at times she was paid a bribe by members of BGF and other gangs, to smuggle the contraband into the correctional institution where she was working. Finally, Simmons admitted that she participated in the drug trafficking activities of the gang and specifically was responsible for members of the conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute between 80 and 100 grams of heroin.

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 prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.

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