The recent sentencing of former correctional officer Ashley Newton marked the latest step in a wide-ranging prosecution involving the smuggling of drugs and other contraband at the Baltimore City Detention Center.
Forty of the 44 defendants have been convicted in a racketeering conspiracy in which members of the Black Guerrilla Family gang maintained sexual relationships with correctional officers — resulting in multiple pregnancies — and smuggled cellphones, tobacco, drugs and other goods into the state-run facility.
Correctional officers were rewarded for facilitating this underground economy with payments, gifts, or a share of the profits, federal prosecutors said. Police say the conspiracy allowed gang members to run their criminal enterprise within and outside the jail.
Twenty-four correctional officers have been convicted in the case. Newton, according to prosecutors, opened cell doors, enabling BGF members to attack fellow inmates, and warned them about upcoming prison searches. Newton, 31, of Baltimore, was sentenced to 51 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
Tavon White, 37, the BGF ringleader who fathered children with four correctional officers, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 years in prison in February.
The scandal was uncovered after the formation of the Maryland Prison Task Force in 2011.