BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Seven new guilty pleas in the drugs, sex and smuggling case that rocked the Baltimore City Detention Center. Members of the Black Guerrilla Family gang on the inside were running a major crime ring.
Rick Ritter explains it’s a major step forward in rooting out jail corruption.
One correctional officer involved was sentenced to more than two years in prison. It’s a stiff penalty prosecutors say sends a message to other officers who may be involved in the entire BGF gang.
Federal prosecutors continue to crack down on the Black Guerrilla Family and their allies inside the Baltimore City Detention Center.
On Friday, five correctional officers, an inmate and a drug supplier pleaded guilty to participating in the racketeering conspiracy. One 48-year-old correctional officer was sentenced to more than two years in prison.
“If you’re not aggressively combating gang violence, a gang is going to spring up and gain power,” said Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein.
It’s all part of a take-down Rosenstein says sends a major blow to a gang that uses jail to its advantage.
“It gains its power within the jails and prisons and then exerts that power on the streets,” said Rosenstein.
It’s the most recent sentencing since the BGF drug dealings were exposed in 2013. Smuggling drugs, cell phones and having sex with guards — what the prison’s former security chief says was the every day norm.
“There were so many of them involved,” said Shavella Miles.
Making one of Baltimore’s primary street gangs, who police continue to hunt down, just as dominant behind bars.
Even though 21 correctional officers have already pleaded guilty, officials aren’t ruling out the possibility that others involved could still be out there.
“We don’t know that we got every one, but we’re continuing to investigate,” Rosenstein said.
But with the homicide rate down slightly, the Baltimore City police commissioner says it’s an indication the gang is finally weakening.
“We have taken out a lot of their leadership and we will continue to take their leadership on,” Commissioner Anthony Batts said.
Prosecutors have indicted a total of 44 defendants in this investigation alone.
Eight defendants who are expected to stand trial next month. Federal prosecutors expect the original case to wrap up this fall.
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