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Press Release

One Correctional Officer Sentenced And Another Pleads Guilty In Baltimore Jail Racketeering Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland

One Defendant Sentenced to 30 Months for Smuggling Drugs;
Thirteenth Officer Pleads Guilty and Admits to Having Sex With BGF Inmates

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced correctional officer Katrina Laprade, a/k/a Katrina Lyons, age 32, today to 30 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release for participating in a racketeering conspiracy arising from the smuggling of drugs and contraband inside the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC). Another correctional officer, Tanierdra Finch, age 26, of Baltimore, and Frederick Morrison, a/k/a Fry, an inmate, age 29, pleaded guilty yesterday to the conspiracy.

The sentence and guilty pleas 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 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, the Black Guerilla Family (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.

Laprade and Finch, correctional officers at BCDC, admitted that in 2012 and 2013, they helped smuggle contraband into the jail. Laprade smuggled in marijuana and tobacco on behalf of Stephen Loney, a leader of the BGF. Finch admitted that she smuggled drugs such as Percocet into BCDC for distribution by BGF inmates such as Tavon White and Jamar Anderson. Finch also had sexual relations with some BGF members, including Anderson.

Morrison was a BGF member and in pretrial custody at BCDC from 2012 to 2013. He was involved with and often directed the smuggling of cell phones, tobacco, marijuana and drugs into BCDC through other correctional officers who received payments, gifts or a share of the profits. Morrison had sexual relations with at least one of the correctional officers involved with contraband trafficking. He also helped conceal from prison officials contraband smuggled into the jail.

As part of his plea agreement, Morrison and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Morrison will be sentenced to five years in prison consecutive to any state prison sentence he is serving. Finch faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the racketeering conspiracy. Judge Hollander scheduled sentencing for Morrison on August 27, 2014 and for Finch on August 8, 2014.

Thirteen correctional officers have pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy. Two of these correctional officers, Taryn Kirkland, age 23, and Adrena Rice, age 26, both of Baltimore, were sentenced in January 2014, each to 42 months in prison and officer Jasmine Thornton, a/k/a J.T., age 27, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, was sentenced to 32 months in prison on February 5, 2014.

BGF leader Tavon White, age 37; BGF commander Steven Loney, age 25; BGF members Jamar Anderson a/k/a “Hammer” and “Hamma Head,” and Kenneth Parham, both age 24; and Jermaine McFadden, age 25, an associate of BGF; also pleaded guilty to the racketeering enterprise. Parham was sentenced on February 24, 2014 to151 months in prison, McFadden was sentenced on March 12, 2014 to 140 months and Loney was sentenced on January 14, 2014 to nine years in prison. Tavon White and Jamar Anderson are awaiting 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