Baltimore, Maryland – Former correctional officer Derrick Jones, age 41, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty today to participating in a racketeering conspiracy that included the smuggling of drugs and contraband inside the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC). Correctional officer Aisha Fraction, age 26, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to the same charge on August 27, 2014.
On August 27, 2014, Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced BGF member and inmate Frederick Morrison, age 30, also of Baltimore, to five years in prison, consecutive to the state sentence he is currently serving, followed by three years of supervised release, for the racketeering conspiracy.
The guilty pleas and sentence 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.
Jones and Fraction were employed as correctional officers (COs) at the Baltimore City Detention Center. Jones and Fraction admitted that they smuggled contraband, including prescription pills, marijuana, and cellular phones, into BCDC for further distribution by inmates who were BGF members, such as Tavon White and Steven Loney. At times, other correctional officers helped Jones and Fraction to smuggle the contraband into the prison. Fraction had a personal relationship with at least one BGF inmate and was aware of other inmates and COs who were involved in smuggling and in sexual relationships. The defendants knew that by smuggling such contraband into BCDC, they furthered the racketeering enterprise of BGF.
According to his plea agreement, Morrison is a member of BGF and was in pretrial custody at BCDC from 2012 to 2013. During that time, Morrison was involved with and often directed the smuggling of contraband into BCDC, including cell phones, tobacco, marijuana and other drugs, through the services of COs, who received payments, gifts or a share of the profits. Morrison had a sexual relationship with at least one of the COs involved in contraband trafficking. Morrison and his closest BGF allies frequently used various people to obtain contraband outside the prison, hold it or deliver it to COs for smuggling. Morrison also helped conceal contraband from prison officials at BCDC who would conduct periodic searches for contraband.
U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander scheduled sentencing for Jones and Fraction, on January 9, 2015 and December 5, 2014, respectively. The defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for the racketeering conspiracy.
Co-defendant Raylanair Reese, age 32, of Baltimore, is scheduled for a rearraignment on Friday, August 29, 2014, and several other defendants are scheduled for rearraignment next week.
To date, twenty-six of the 44 defendants charged in the conspiracy have pleaded guilty, including 16 correctional officers. One defendant has died. Trial is scheduled to begin November 17, 2014 for the remaining defendants.
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.