Due to the lapse in appropriations, Department of Justice websites will not be regularly updated. The Department’s essential law enforcement and national security functions will continue. Please refer to the Department of Justice’s contingency plan for more information.

You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

Monday, February 24, 2014

BGF Member Sentenced To Over 12 Years In Prison In Baltimore Jail Racketeering Conspiracy

BGF Member Often Directed the Smuggling of Drugs and Contraband into Baltimore Correctional Facility While in Pretrial Custody

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced a member of the Black Guerilla Family (BGF) gang, Kenneth Parham, age 24, of Baltimore, Maryland, to 151 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for a racketeering conspiracy arising from the smuggling of drugs and contraband inside the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC). Parham’s federal sentence will be served concurrent to the 10 year state sentence he is currently serving.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Secretary Gregg Hershberger of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services; Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein.

This case was developed as a result of the efforts of the Maryland Prison Task Force, formed in 2011 with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, and prosecutors. The Task Force has met regularly for over three years, generating recommendations to reform prison procedures and producing leads that have been pursued by state, local and federal criminal investigators. The investigation is continuing.

According to court documents, BGF has been the dominant gang at the BCDC, and in several connected facilities, including the Baltimore Central Booking Intake Center (BCBIC), the Women’s Detention Center, which houses many men, and in the Jail Industries Building.

According to his plea agreement, Parham is a member of the BGF and was in pretrial custody at BCDC from 2012 to 2013. During that time, Parham admitted that he was involved with and often directed the smuggling of contraband into BCDC, including cell phones, tobacco and drugs, through the services of Correctional Officers (COs), who received payments, gifts, or a share of the profits. As a close associate of BGF leader Tavon White, Parham knew many of the COs involved in contraband trafficking. Parham and his closest BGF allies frequently used individuals to obtain contraband outside the prison, hold it or deliver it to COs for smuggling. Parham also helped conceal contraband from prison officials who would conduct periodic searches for contraband.

Nine correctional officers have pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy. Correctional officers Taryn Kirkland, age 23, and Adrena Rice, age 26, both of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to their participation in the conspiracy and were sentenced in January 2014, each to 42 months in prison and officer Jasmine Thornton, a/k/a J.T., age 26, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, was sentenced to 32 months in prison on February 5, 2014. Six other correctional officers await sentencing.

BGF leader Tavon White, age 36, and BGF commander Steven Loney, age 24, also pleaded guilty to the racketeering enterprise. Loney was sentenced on January 14, 2014 to nine years in prison. Tavon White awaits his sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Rosenstein recognized the efforts of the other members of the Maryland Prison Task Force, including: Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Chief Mark A. Magaw of the Prince George’s County Police Department; United States Marshal Johnny Hughes; Special Agent in Charge Karl C. Colder of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division; Tom Carr, Director of the Washington-Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area; and Dave Engel, Executive Director of the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI, Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Baltimore Police Department, and Maryland Prison Task Force, for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Robert R. Harding and Ayn B. Ducao, who are prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.

Updated January 26, 2015