Former prison guard is charged with attempted cocaine purchase


A former state prison guard was arrested and charged yesterday with trying to buy a large quantity of cocaine from an undercover agent, federal prosecutors said.

Rasheem Jamal Robinson, 30, of Baltimore County appeared in court on one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Prosecutors declined to say where Robinson lived in the county, noting unspecified security reasons.

Before his arrest, Robinson was a corrections officer at the medium-security Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup. Robinson was fired within the past two weeks, according to an affidavit filed in federal court by a Drug Enforcement Administration agent.

Robinson could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Maryland prisons have had a troubled history with contraband, including a black market in illegal drugs. It was unclear from court papers filed yesterday whether there had been any plan to sell the cocaine inside the prison.

According to the affidavit filed in federal court yesterday, a man met with an undercover law enforcement agent Friday at Security Square Mall in Woodlawn.

The man and the agent discussed the man's buying 3 kilograms of cocaine and paying for the stash later. After the man took possession of about 1 kilo of cocaine, federal agents arrested him, according to prosecutors.

In the Baltimore region, cocaine has a street value of about $100,000 a kilo, according to DEA officials.

If convicted, the suspect faces a minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 40 years followed by four years of supervised release, and a maximum fine of $2 million.

His initial court appearance was yesterday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. He was released until his next court appearance, scheduled for Sept. 6, prosecutors said.

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