BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Twelve years in prison. That’s the punishment for Tavon White–the inmate accused of running a drugs, sex and corruption scheme from behind the bars of the Baltimore City jail.
Derek Valcourt was in the court room as Tavon White was sentenced.
The 12 year punishment is all part of a plea deal Tavon White struck with prosecutors in exchange for his cooperation and testimony against some of the correctional officers and other inmates involved in the corruption case.
Tavon White, 37, claimed he ran the Baltimore City Detention Center from the inside. The Black Guerrilla Family gang member turned star federal witness by testifying for five days in the corruption trial against several correctional officers and other inmates.
White said the guards were taking orders from the gang members and helping to smuggle in drugs and other contraband.
Prosecutors told the sentencing judge it was because of White’s early cooperation that they were able to add another 19 names to the original indictment.
“Ideally, we’d be able to make the case, prove the case with only law enforcement witnesses and not have to cut deals with criminals, but that’s the way things work,” said U.S. attorney Rod Rosenstein.
Tavon White chose not to speak at his Monday morning sentencing. His defense attorneys say he’s ready to put this behind him.
In court, prosecutors praised Tavon White, saying his testimony took great courage knowing he could face retaliation from gang members, saying he assumed a risk he will have to live with for the rest of his life.
Prosecutors say that help earned White a reduced punishment of 12 years to run at the same time as a 20 year state sentence he’s already serving.
“It was a deal. It was a deal with the devil,” said Sgt. Ralphie Johnson Jr., former correctional officer.
Johnson agrees with prosecutors that White is in danger from the BGF.
“He crossed them. And when you cross who you’re supposed to be loyal to, these are the things that can happen–no matter what level you’re on,” he said.
It is expected that Tavon White will be shipped off to a prison in another state to serve out the remainder of his sentence.
In all, 40 defendants, including 24 correctional officers, were convicted for their role in the prison corruption case.