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Justice News

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

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Two More Correctional Officers Plead Guilty In Baltimore Jail Racketeering Conspiracy

Smuggled Drugs into Baltimore Correctional Facility and One of the Officers Had Sex With BGF Inmates; 11 Correctional Officers Have Pleaded Guilty to Date

Baltimore, Maryland – Correctional officer Ebonee Braswell, age 27, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty today to participating in a racketeering conspiracy arising from the smuggling of drugs and contraband inside the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC). Another correctional officer, Danielle Forrest, age 27 pleaded guilty on February 25th to the conspiracy.

The 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, 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.

Braswell, a correctional officer at BCDC, admitted that in 2012 and 2013, she helped smuggle contraband, including drugs such as Percocet, into BCDC for further distribution by BGF members. Forrest, a correctional officer at BCDC, admitted that she worked with a BGF leader in 2012 to smuggle contraband, including marijuana, Percocet and tobacco into BCDC. She was familiar with the drug activities of other correctional officers, including Braswell. At the direction of BGF, Forrest met outside suppliers to obtain the contraband, and managed payments for drugs using her Green Dot account. Forrest had sexual relations inside BCDC with two BGF inmates.

The defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the racketeering conspiracy. U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander scheduled sentencing for Braswell on June 27, 2014, and for Forrest on June 16, 2014.

Eleven 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, Kenneth Parham, age 24, a BGF member, 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 and Loney was sentenced on January 14, 2014 to nine years in prison. Tavon White and Jermaine McFadden 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