Former Maryland Correctional Officer Sentenced to Eight Years in Federal Prison for Civil Rights Violations
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz sentenced inmate Russell Carrington, a/k/ Rutt, age 34, of Baltimore, and a leader in the Black Guerilla Family (BGF) gang, today to 210 months in prison, followed by six years of supervised release, for a racketeering and drug conspiracy that included the smuggling of drugs and contraband inside the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC). Carrington was convicted on February 5, 2015, after a lengthy trial.
Earlier this week, Judge Motz sentenced former correctional officers Jennifer Owens, a/k/a O and J.O., age 31, of Randallstown, Maryland; Milshenna Peoples, age 29, of Baltimore; and Javonne Lunkin, age 28, of Baltimore, each to a year and a day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Owens, Peoples and Lunkin pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy arising from their participation in the smuggling of drugs and contraband for members of BGF inside BCDC.
In a related proceeding, U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Tyesha Mayo, age 31, of Baltimore, on March 26, 2015, to 15 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Mayo also pleaded guilty to the racketeering conspiracy, admitting that she supplied drugs to the COs which the COs then smuggled into the jail.
The sentences were 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 Stephen T. Moyer of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS); Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby.
This case 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.
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 (CO’s), who received payments, gifts, or a share of the profits.
Carrington was a BGF leader incarcerated in BCDC who sold Percocet pills which COs smuggled into the jail for him. Carrington had a sexual relationship with a correctional officer, who helped Carrington finance his drug operations by keeping Green Dot cards for him. In 2012, Carrington introduced Tavon White and a correctional officer to a source of supply for Percocet pills. He also attempted to recruit other correctional officers to smuggle contraband into BCDC. Former prison employee Michelle McNair also helped Carrington with his drug operations, but quit after Carrington failed to pay her.
Former correctional officers Owens, Peoples and Lunkin admitted that while they worked at BCDC, they helped smuggle contraband into the jail, including tobacco, marijuana, and prescription drugs, on behalf of and for further distribution by BGF members. The defendants knew that by smuggling contraband into BCDC, they furthered the racketeering enterprise of BGF.
Owens and Peoples entered into personal and sexual relationships with inmates who were BGF gang members. For example, Owens admitted that she had a personal and sexual relationship with BGF gang leader Tavon White while he was an inmate at BCDC and has two children by White. Owens had “Tavon” tattooed on her neck. Peoples admitted that she also had personal and sexual relationships with inmates who were BGF members. Owens, Peoples and Lunkin were aware of other COs who were involved in smuggling and who had sexual relationships with inmates.
Outside the prison, Owens frequently obtained contraband from Tyesha Mayo and other co-defendants. Mayo obtained Percocet, Xanax, Suboxone and marijuana from co-conspirators for distribution to COs. Tavon White funded the drug purchases and paid Mayo for her services by means of Green Dot money transfers and by cash payments provided by co-conspirators outside the prison.
Inmates and BGF members Tavon White, a/k/a Bulldog and Tay, age 37, and Jamar Anderson, age 24, both of Baltimore, were sentenced to 12 years in prison and 121 months in prison, respectively. Michelle McNair, age 24, of Baltimore, a former contract employee with the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, was convicted at trial for the racketeering and drug conspiracies, as well as a money laundering conspiracy. McNair is awaiting sentencing.
Forty of the 44 defendants charged in the racketeering conspiracy have been convicted, including 24 correctional officers. Thirty-five defendants pleaded guilty; five defendants were convicted after trial. Three defendants were acquitted and one defendant died.
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 prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.