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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Inmate Leader of Racketeering Conspiracy at Maryland Correctional Institute Jessup Sentenced to Six Years in Federal Prison

Conspired with Four Outside Facilitators and Two Correctional Employees to Smuggle Contraband Into Prison, Including Drugs

Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis sentenced inmate Corey Alston, a/k/a “C,” age 29, yesterday to six years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for a racketeering conspiracy charge for being a leader in a scheme to smuggle contraband into the Maryland Correctional Institute Jessup (MCIJ), including narcotics, unauthorized flash drives, tobacco, and cell phones into the prison.

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 Robert L. Green, of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

According to court documents, MCIJ was a medium-security prison in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, that housed approximately 1,100 male inmates, with 262 custody staff or Correctional Officers (COs) and 52 non-custody staff, including case management, medical, and administrative staff.

Alston admitted that he was a leader in the racketeering conspiracy.  As detailed in the plea agreement, Alston conspired with four outside facilitators, Tyrisha Johnson, Jamia Lawson, Ashley Alston, and Aldon Alston, who obtained and packaged contraband, met with the correction officers and employees to provide contraband and bribe payments, and managed the proceeds of illegal contraband sales for Alston.  According to Alston’s plea agreement, Correctional Officer Janel Griffin and another MCIJ employee brought the contraband into the prison for Alston, in exchange for bribe payments, and Alston conspired with inmate Schvel Mack to sell the contraband to other inmates. 

Alston was overheard by law enforcement on a series of recorded calls arranging for contraband to be smuggled into MCIJ and arranging payment for the contraband and for bribes. Recorded jail calls between Alston and others confirm that between April 16 and August 14, 2017, Griffin met with Johnson or another facilitator on at least six occasions to obtain contraband and at least $2,800 in bribe payments.  Griffin smuggled the contraband, including Suboxone and Percocet, into MCIJ.

In addition to Corey Alston, 14 other defendants—six outside facilitators, four prison employees, and four inmates—have pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy, including Janel Griffin, Schvel Mack, Tyrishia Johnson, Jamia Lawson, Ashley Alston, and Aldon Alston.  Seven defendants are awaiting sentencing and five defendants are pending trial. Correctional Officer Janel Griffin, age 42, of Baltimore and inmate Schvel Mack, a/k/a Weezy, and L Weezy, age 31; were sentenced to 27 months each in federal prison and inmate Tavon Price, a/k/a Tay, age 37 was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison.

This case arose from the efforts of the Maryland Prison Task Force, coordinated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and comprised of local, state, and federal stakeholders that meet regularly to share information and generate recommendations to reform prison procedures and attack the gang problem that has plagued Maryland in recent years.  The work of the Task Force previously resulted in the federal convictions of more than 78 defendants, including 16 correctional officers, at the Eastern Correctional Institution, and 40 defendants, including 24 correctional officers, at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI and the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services for their work in the investigation. The U.S. Attorney expressed appreciation to the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, whose staff initiated the MCIJ investigation and have been full partners in this investigation.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren E. Perry and Sean R. Delaney, who are prosecuting this case.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Public Corruption
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Marcia Murphy (410) 209-4854
Updated December 1, 2021