The Baltimore Sun

Bribery scheme nets jail time

A former correctional officer at a federal medium-security prison in Western Maryland was sentenced yesterday to a year and a day in federal prison for taking bribes in a scheme to allow cigarettes to be smuggled to inmates, federal prosecutors said.

After the prison term, Robb Phillips, 34, will spend two years on supervised release, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

"Robb Phillips abused his authority as a correctional officer," Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement after Phillips' guilty plea in November. "He violated his oath and turned from a law officer to a criminal."

Prosecutors said that Phillips was hired by the Federal Bureau of Prisons as a correctional officer in 2000 and later began working as a teacher at the Federal Correctional Institution at Cumberland. Beginning in April 2006, after tobacco was banned in all federal institutions, an inmate offered to pay Phillips $50 for each pack and $1,000 for each carton of cigarettes smuggled inside.

The prosecutors said Phillips brought the cigarettes into prison by hiding them in potato chip bags inside his lunch box. He then hid them in a computer box in a storage room of the education department and stood guard as inmates came in to retrieve the contraband, prosecutors said.

The U.S. attorney's office said Phillips was smuggling up to 50 packs a week and that in addition to other contraband, he collected more than $14,000 in the scheme.

Fatal-shooting victim identified

City police yesterday identified Andre A. Jones, 18, of the 5400 block of Lynview Ave. as the man fatally shot Saturday night outside a convenience store in Forest Park. Police said Jones and another man, 43, were outside the store in the 2900 block of Garrison Blvd. about 10:15 p.m. when a gunman approached and shot them before fleeing on foot.

Police said Jones was shot in the head. The other victim, whose name police declined to disclose, was shot in the neck, staggered into the store and collapsed. Employees called police. Both men were taken to Sinai Hospital, where Jones died about 30 minutes later. The other man remains hospitalized.

Richard Irwin

Woman sought in drug case

Anne Arundel County police seized $450,000 in cocaine in two packages sent to an Annapolis hotel, breaking up a drug-smuggling scheme run by three employees who made reservations in the made-up receipients' names, authorities said yesterday.

Two Upper Marlboro men have been charged, but police are looking for a 28-year-old woman from District Heights.

Police first tracked suspicious packages being sent to the SpringHill Suites Annapolis, 189 Admiral Cochrane Drive. Detectives there noticed that the names listed on shipping labels were false, according to a police statement. Early last month, police said, they seized a package containing 5 kilograms of cocaine.

On Feb. 15, police said, they seized a second package containing 4.5 kilograms of cocaine. Detectives resealed the package and allowed it to be delivered to the hotel. Police arrested the two employees they said took possession of it: Bernard King, 48, and Javon Kirk Louis Savage, 22. Nicole Tamika Freeman remains at large.

All three are charged with eight drug and conspiracy crimes. Police said Savage is on house arrest until trial, and King is being held at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center on $750,000 bail.

Annapolis teen found dead in Robinwood

An Annapolis teenager was fatally shot in the same block where another man was killed in his car less than two months ago, authorities said yesterday.

Kwame Travon Johnson, 17, of the 2000 block of Forest Drive is the fourth homicide victim in the city this year, putting it on pace to exceed last year's record of eight homicides.

Officers found Johnson, a junior at Annapolis High School, about 11:20 p.m. Sunday bleeding on the sidewalk in the 1300 block of Tyler Ave., in the troubled Robinwood public housing community. Paramedics declared him dead at the scene.

A counseling team was sent to the school yesterday to help students and staff members cope with their grief, said Bob Mosier, a spokesman for Anne Arundel County schools.

Officer Hal Dalton, a police spokesman, said Sunday's shooting does not appear to be related to the Feb. 17 shooting death of Timothy Hayes Marsh, 40, of Severna Park. Marsh was found shot behind the wheel of his silver-colored Acura Integra in the 1300 block of Tyler Ave.

Police ask that anyone with information about Johnson's death to call Cpl. K.J. Brown, 410-249-0217 or 410-693-9641.

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