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Justice News

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

Friday, September 25, 2015

Former Correctional Officer Sentenced to Over 6 Years in Prison in Baltimore Jail Racketeering Conspiracy

Longest Sentence Imposed on Correctional Officer; Total of 40 Defendants Convicted in the Jail Racketeering Conspiracy

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz sentenced former correctional officer Travis Paylor, age 27, of Baltimore, today to 76 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for participating in a racketeering conspiracy and drug conspiracy, involving the smuggling of drugs and contraband inside the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC). Paylor was convicted on February 5, 2015, after a more than two month long jury trial.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Secretary Stephen T. Moyer of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS); Interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

“Travis Paylor received the longest sentence of any correctional officer in the case, which is appropriate because he continued to engage in illegal activity even after he was convicted in this case,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.

“We commend our task force partners for yet another successful prosecution in the wide-ranging corruption cases that plagued the now closed Baltimore City Detention Center.  This sentence once again emphasizes we will not tolerate corruption within our correctional system and those found to be engaged in such criminal activity will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Secretary Stephen T. Moyer.

According to trial testimony and court documents, BGF has been the dominant gang at the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC), and in several connected facilities, including the Baltimore Central Booking Intake Center, the Women’s Detention Center, which houses many men, and in the Jail Industries Building.  Tavon White and other BGF leaders and members incarcerated at BCDC were 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.

According to evidence presented at trial, Paylor was a correctional officer (CO) at the BCDC who smuggled contraband into the jail for distribution by BGF inmates. In return, Paylor and other COs received payments, gifts or a share of the profits.

According to trial evidence and other court documents, Paylor was an important source of supply of Percocet pills for BGF leader Tavon White, who bought Percocet pills from Paylor once or twice a week.  Paylor worked with other correctional officers to sell contraband to White, as well as to other inmates.  Paylor charged various rates, depending on the amount of items purchased.  For example, Paylor charged $300 just to bring in 50 Percocet pills provided by the inmate’s outside source of supply.  From 2009 through 2010, when Paylor was moved to the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center (BCBIC), Tavon White paid Paylor approximately $10,000 for drugs.  Paylor continued selling contraband to inmates after he was moved to BCBIC.

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.  Investigations are continuing.

Forty of the 44 defendants charged in the racketeering conspiracy have been convicted, including 24 correctional officers.  Thirty-five defendants pleaded guilty and five defendants were convicted after trial.  Three defendants were acquitted and one defendant died.

To date, 23 of the correctional officers, including Paylor, have been sentenced to up to 76 months in prison.

BGF leader Tavon White, age 37, pleaded guilty to his participation in the racketeering conspiracy and testified at the trial and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.  Inmates and leaders in the BGF gang, Russell Carrington, a/k/ Rutt, age 34, and Joseph Young, a/k/a Monster, age 33, both of Baltimore, were convicted after trial and sentenced to 210 months in prison and 15 years in prison, respectively.  Former correctional officer Ashley Newton, age 31, of Baltimore, was sentenced to 51 months in prison, after being convicted after trial of participating in racketeering, drug, and money laundering conspiracies, involving the smuggling of drugs and contraband inside the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC).

U.S. Attorney Rosenstein recognized the efforts of the other members of the Maryland Prison Task Force, including: the Maryland State Police, Prince George’s County Police Department, United States Marshals Office, DEA, Washington-Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and 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.

Public Corruption
Updated September 25, 2015