Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III today sentenced Shanese Butler, age 35, of Baltimore, a former Correctional Officer at the Metropolitan Transition Center (“MTC”) in Baltimore, to two years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for a racketeering conspiracy related to a scheme to smuggle contraband the MTC.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Secretary Carolyn J. Scruggs of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
According to court documents and her guilty plea, from June 2020 to November 2020, Butler engaged in a romantic relationship with Christopher Mann while he was a detainee at the Metropolitan Transition Center, and conspired with Mann, other employees, detainees, and associates of MTC to participate in a pattern of racketeering activity, including drug distribution and bribery.
Specifically, Butler, Mann and at least two other conspirators, including outside facilitator, Cania Jefferson, age 35, and Correctional Officer Thomas Green, worked together to smuggle contraband into MTC in exchange for bribe payments. At Mann’s direction, Butler sent $1,000 bribe payments to Green on multiple occasions. In exchange for these bribe payments, Green smuggled contraband into MTC and delivered it to Mann. For example, in July 2020, after receiving a bribe payment from Mann, Green smuggled two cell phones, suboxone, and K2 into MTC but was apprehended by law enforcement on their way to MTC.
The evidence showed that Butler controlled Mann’s Cash App account, through which multiple payments were made to Green and facilitator Cania Jefferson; and multiple payments from and on behalf of Mann’s customer’s inside MTC were received. The government presented evidence that, not only did Butler assist in managing the day-to-day financial aspects of Mann’s contraband smuggling organization, she assisted in liquidating the operation’s proceeds. Cash App records confirm that between September 16 and October 3, 2020, Butler withdrew approximately $33,000 from the account. The FBI recovered approximately 10 percent of that amount, $3,020, while searching Butler’s home on October 2, 2020. The balance of the proceeds is unaccounted for.
According to court documents, in September 2020, law enforcement intercepted a series of phone calls in which Butler and Mann devised a scheme to spray liquid K2 onto a piece of paper, and to smuggle the paper into MTC through the United States mail service. Butler sent the piece of paper to another detainee as a “trial.” The mailing was seized by jail administrators, tested by a chemist, and found to have been soaked in synthetic marijuana. When the FBI raided Butler’s home in October 2020, they recovered a spray bottle containing liquid K2, as well as multiple pieces of paper that had been soaked in liquid K2.
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
Co-defendants Christopher Mann, age 40, of Baltimore; Thomas Green, age 34, of Pikesville, Maryland; and Cania Jefferson, age 36, of Lansdowne, Maryland previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme and were sentenced to between a year and a day and three years in federal prison.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI and DPSCS Intelligence and Investigative Division for their work in this joint investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter J. Martinez and Aaron S.J. Zelinsky who are prosecuting the case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
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