Federal authorities have charged 19 more people with racketeering — 14 of them corrections officers — in the Baltimore City Detention Center gang smuggling case.
A new indictment unsealed Thursday alleges that the officers aided Black Guerrilla Family members in smuggling prescription pills, marijuana and cell phones inside the jail walls. None of the activities alleged took place after the original charges against 25 inmates, officers and suppliers were unsealed in April.
Eight of the corrections officers charged had previously left the department; the remaining six have been suspended, public safety department officials said.
All the new defendants also face drug charges, and six of them face a money laundering count. A number of defendants among those originally charged, including gang leader Tavon White, have pleaded guilty.
Gary Maynard, the secretary of the public safety department, said in a statement that despite the fresh allegations the "overwhelming majority" of officers are "honest and hardworking."
But one former corrections staffer who is cooperating with the government estimated that 75 percent of officers were involved in smuggling before April, according to court documents. Other cooperators — including inmates and officers — said at least half of officers "regularly smuggled contraband into BCDC," according to the document.
In a statement, Gov. Martin O'Malley thanked federal authorities for continuing to investigate the jail.
"Since April, we have redoubled our efforts to crack down on corruption and improve security at our correctional institutions — protecting the integrity of our correctional institutions requires constant vigilance, and we continue to improve those efforts every day," O'Malley said.
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- Crime, Law and Justice
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- Safety of Citizens
- Martin O'Malley
- Black Guerrilla Family