A former Baltimore Safe Streets employee who also was a member of the Black Guerrilla Family gang has pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges, authorities announced Tuesday.
Ricky “Dorsey” Evans, 38, of Baltimore, served as a BGF gang leader while working for the city-funded program that hires ex-felons to mediate disputes, the Maryland U.S. attorney’s office said. Prosecutors said Evans worked out of the Safe Streets office in the 2300 block of Monument St., where he also held BGF meetings and used it to store and distribute drugs as well as firearms used in crimes.
Evans and co-defendant, Shawn “Bucky” Thomas, also 38, admitted to serving as high-ranking members of the gang, which sold drugs through BGF-controlled open-air drug shops in their territories in East Baltimore and the 2700 block of Greenmount Ave., according to their plea agreements.
Their attorneys did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
Baltimore prosecutors have dropped all charges against nine people arrested last year after a raid on the Safe Streets violence intervention program office in East Baltimore turned up seven guns and drugs.
Baltimore police charged Evans and eight others in 2015 after a raid found seven guns and drugs at the Safe Streets office. Baltimore prosecutors later dropped all charges against all nine defendants, after prosecutors said they received "exculpatory information that called into question the identity of the defendants."
According to court files, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was investigating an armed drug-trafficking organization operating at Monument and Rose streets in McElderry Park, which was led by Evans. Investigators conducted surveillance at Evans’ apartment in November 2016, attached a GPS tracking device to his vehicle and in February 2017 began wiretapping his cellphone.
Court records show he was arrested again and detained in March 2017 and charged with drug and gun-related offenses. He was later charged with racketeering.
According to his plea agreement in the federal case, Evans accepted payments to have violence committed against individuals, and then assigned other BGF members to commit those acts.
Authorities said that in 2010, Evans authorized BGF members to kidnap Marcal Walton. During the kidnapping, BGF members shot and killed Walton as he tried to flee. Later that year, Evans authorized the murder of Darel Alston, a BGF member, for his alleged cooperation with law enforcement regarding the botched kidnapping, authorities said.
City officials said they have again suspended an anti-violence Safe Streets program in East Baltimore, this time after patrol officers raided the program's Monument Street offices and found seven guns and a "felony amount" of drugs stashed inside.
Evans has been charged twice with murder and acquitted both times. In 1999, he was found not guilty of conspiracy to murder in the killing of 21-year-old Harry Brown in the first block of N. Streeper St. Evans was charged with first-degree murder in another case in 2002, and three years later was found not guilty.
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Authorities said Thomas collected gang dues, and in 2016 he ordered another BGF member to murder Keith Ramsey, a rival Bloods gang member, authorities said.
Evans and Thomas both face a maximum of life in prison, and are scheduled to be sentenced in February.
Advocates for Safe Streets said the employees who are ex-felons have credibility in their communities, and the program provides an alternative to using police to control violence. A recent study questioned the program’s effectiveness, after finding the sites had “no effects” on homicides “when the effects were aggregated across all sites implementing the program since 2007.” But the study also suggested that increasing resources for the program could increase its impact.
In May, Mayor Catherine Pugh secured $3.6 million in state funds and promised $1.7 million from the city to fund six new Safe Streets sites.
The McElderry Park location is the longest-running site. The East Baltimore location where Evans worked has been the subject of several investigations. Other locations are in Cherry Hill, Park Heights and Sandtown-Winchester.