BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A federal grand jury on Wednesday returned an indictment charging four people with a conspiracy to smuggle contraband — including narcotics and phones — into Metropolitan Transition Center, a Baltimore jail.

Two former correctional officers, a detainee and an outside facilitator were involved in the operation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Along with paying for contraband to be smuggled, the detainee, identified as 39-year-old Christopher Mann, paid for an engagement ring for one of the former correctional officers he was in a romantic relationship with, Shanese Butler.

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“Corrupt correctional officers that smuggle contraband into jails endanger the lives of their co-workers and the detainees entrusted to their care,” said United States Attorney Erek L. Barron.  “Prisoners can use contraband cell phones to direct criminal activity outside, which also endangers the community.”

The indictment alleges Mann used a contraband cell phone to communicate with the then-correctional officers, Thomas Green and Butler. Mann allegedly had Green and Butler communicate with an outside facilitator, Cania Jefferson, to smuggle Suboxone, synthetic cannabis, tobacco and cell phones into the jail from June to November 2020.

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Mann was paid via Cash App by other detainees, the indictment alleges. In August 2020, Mann paid Jefferson  $1,650 via Cash App to buy an engagement ring for Butler at Columbia Mall.

Law enforcement executed search warrants in October 2020 at the residences of Butler and Jefferson. They found drugs, cash and, in Butler’s home, the engagement ring Mann had paid for.

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Officials said if convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the racketeering conspiracy.

CBS Baltimore Staff