Reporting Rochelle Ritchie
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The man accused of running a sophisticated drug dealing operation behind bars as an inmate at the Baltimore City Detention Center pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges Tuesday.
Rochelle Ritchie has more on what family members of Tavon White have to say in his defense.
White said very little in court, only answering the judge with a “Yes, ma’am” or “No, ma’am.” Relatives of Tavon White have remained tight-lipped since he was federally charged–until Tuesday, when they spoke with WJZ as they left the courthouse.
Tavon White, 36, is the alleged mastermind who made thousands of dollars off a drug ring he ran behind bars at the Baltimore City Detention Center. Tuesday, he stood in federal court, pleading guilty to racketeering charges.
“We are committed to ensuring this activity does not happen again,” said City State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein.
White’s family sat in the courtroom quietly as he admitted to being a 13-year member of the Black Guerrilla Family gang.
His uncle told WJZ his nephew is no kingpin.
“They take BGF and try to make my nephew like he is the big time drug kingpin. He ain’t running no BGF; he ain’t running nothing. All that kid is trying to do is get home to his family,” said his uncle.
A federal crackdown at the Baltimore City Detention Center revealed a jailhouse soap opera involving sex and drugs. Thirteen correctional guards, seven inmates and five co-conspirators are accused of smuggling contraband such as cell phones and drugs into the jail.
“This situation enabled BGF members to run their criminal enterprise within the jail and on the streets of Baltimore,” said an official.
This is how the feds say the operation worked: acquaintances of the inmates and correctional officers would give the contraband to the guards, who would smuggle the goods into the jail. The items would then be given to members of the gang, who would then sell it to other inmates. White was considered the commander. A percentage of the money would be paid to the guards and the suppliers on the street.
Federal agents say White not only ran a lucrative drug dealing business behind bars but actually had sex with four correctional officers and got them all pregnant.
As White’s family members left the courthouse, they admitted to being disappointed but relieved.
“I am just glad it’s done and over with,” said one relative.
White was in jail on a murder charge. His hearing in that case was also Tuesday. He pleaded guilty to that as well and was sentenced to 20 years.
Twenty-five people were all indicted on federal racketeering charges. White will be sentenced Feb. 20.