JESSUP, Md. (WJZ) — Twenty people, including inmates and officers, were indicted on racketeering charges and conspiracy in a racketeering case at a Maryland Correctional Facility in Jessup.
According to the U.S. State’s Attorney, documents said bribes were paid to officers to smuggle in contraband including narcotics, cell phones, unauthorized flash drives and tobacco.
Prison officers allegedly took bribes to smuggle narcotics for MCIJ inmates — including heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana and K2. The guards were able to sneak the contraband into the prison even though they are subject to searches.
Documents suggest officers hid the contraband in the hair, clothing, underwear and inside their bodies.
Six correctional officers and prison staff, seven inmates, and seven outside facilitators were charged in the smuggling and bribery conspiracy.
According to the 11-count indictment, prisoners and facilitators paid the officers with cash, money orders, Green Dot cards and by using PayPal. Prisoners used the contraband cell phones to also pay officers on the spot from within the jail.
The officers also allegedly assaulted inmates and had inappropriate relationships with inmates, and one officer is facing additional charges for allegedly sexually assaulting three inmates.
“The prison officials in this case violated their oath to do their jobs with integrity and to protect the public by putting their greed above the safety of the inmates under their supervision and the welfare of the community,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Hur.
Gov. Larry Hogan sent out a tweet saying in part, “…the number of people indicted for prison corruption in Maryland is now nearly 200 since I took office in 2015,” He said. “We have absolutely no tolerance whatsoever for corruption of any kind in our state prison system,”
FBI said the message is clear.
“Today’s arrests demonstrate that the FBI takes seriously unlawful actions conducted by public servants who abuse their position of trust,” said Alfred Watson, FBI agent.
Investigators said right now they have 19 out of the 20 in custody. They are still waiting on one more arrest.
They believe that person might be out of the country.