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Justice News

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

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Two Correctional Officers, Two Inmates And A Jail Contract Employee Convicted In Baltimore Jail Racketeering Conspiracy

Jury Convicts Five of Eight Defendants Following Trial of Over Two Months; A Total of 40 Defendants Have Been Convicted in the Jail Racketeering Conspiracy

Baltimore, Maryland – A federal jury convicted five defendants today for participating in a racketeering conspiracy and drug conspiracy, involving the smuggling of drugs and contraband inside the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC):

Former Correctional Officers:  
Ashley Newton, age 31, of Baltimore, and
Travis Paylor, age 27, of Baltimore.

Joseph Young, a/k/a Monster, age 32, of Baltimore, and 
Russell Carrington, a/k/a Rutt, age 34, of Baltimore.                                     

Former Contract employee with DPSCS:
Michelle McNair, age 24, of Baltimore.

Young, McNair and Newton were also convicted of money laundering conspiracy. The jury acquitted former correctional officers Clarissa Clayton, age 25, of Brooklyn Park, Maryland; Riccole Hall, age 27, of Glen Burnie; and Michelle Ricks, age 45, of Edgewood, Maryland of all charges.

The convictions 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 Mosby.

“This case exposed rampant crime and corruption inside jailhouse walls, which spawns more crime in the streets,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Continued vigilance will be needed to make sure that jails help prevent crime instead of facilitating it.”

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.

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.

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

According to trial evidence, Newton had sexual relationships with two BGF inmates, and smuggled pills, marijuana and tobacco for Duron Young, a/k/a Pinkey.  During the conspiracy, Newton smuggled pills for Pinkey almost daily.  She also opened cells doors of inmates for BGF members, which resulted on at least one occasion in the beating of an inmate by the BGF.  Newton also warned the BGF of upcoming prison searches by correctional officers.  Newton arranged for money to be sent to inmates and facilitated phone conversations between inmates, including calls from other prisons to BGF leader Tavon White.

In 2012, Michelle McNair, who worked in a jail kitchen as a contract employee, smuggled marijuana, pills and other contraband into BCDC to repay BGF leader Tavon White and in exchange for Green Dot transfers of funds. McNair also smuggled marijuana to BGF inmate Jamar Anderson inside BCDC.  McNair also transferred contraband from one facility to another within the jail.

Evidence presented at trial showed that Young was a high-ranking BGF member, and a rival of Tavon White within BGF while he was incarcerated at BCDC beginning in early 2012. Young was expected to replace Tavon White as BGF’s leader inside the jail. In October and November 2012, Young sold marijuana, prescription pills, cell phones and tobacco that correctional officers smuggled into the jail. Young directed another inmate, Cyrus Beads, to buy marijuana at $350 an ounce and package it in one-gram bags, which he would sell for $50 inside BCDC.  Young explained that they would make a $1,050 profit from each ounce.  Young had a romantic relationship with Raylanair Reese, age 32, who lived outside the jail and supplied Young with cell phones and Percocet pills.  Reese pled guilty earlier.

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.  McNair also helped Carrington with is drug operations, but quit after Carrington failed to pay her.

The defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for the racketeering and drug conspiracies.  Young, McNair and Newton also face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the money laundering conspiracy.  Their sentencings have not been scheduled.

Forty of the 44 defendants charged in the racketeering conspiracy have been convicted, including 24 correctional officers.  Thirty-five defendants pleaded guilty; eight defendants went to trial and one defendant has died.

BGF leader Tavon White, age 37, previously pleaded guilty to his participation in the racketeering conspiracy and testified at the trial.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 9, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Another BGF inmate, Derius Duncan, age 24 of Baltimore, is scheduled to be sentenced on February 11, 2015 at 11:00 a.m.

BGF members Jamar Anderson a/k/a “Hammer,” 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 Steven Loney, who was the BGF commander of the North Building of the jail was sentenced on January 14, 2014 to nine years in prison.

To date, at least eight of the correctional officers have been sentenced to up to 42 months in prison.  Chania Brooks, age 29, of Baltimore, is scheduled to be sentenced tomorrow, February 6, 2015. 

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 February 23, 2015