Advertisement

Jessup prison employee, two others plead guilty to racketeering in drug smuggling scheme

A 26-year-old corrections employee at the medium-security prison in Jessup pleaded guilty July 23 in U.S. District Court to racketeering as she and two others admitted to their roles in smuggling drugs, cellphones and flash drives into the prison.

In a plea agreement, Patricia McDaniel, 26, of Baltimore, a correctional dietary officer at the Maryland Correctional Institute Jessup, admitted she smuggled contraband into the prison for inmate Jerrard Bazemore, a 34-year-old man who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting death of 18-year-old Charles Sharp in 2002.

Advertisement

McDaniel, who began working at the prison in April 2014, “had a close relationship” with Bazemore and smuggled heroin, fentanyl, buprenorphine and synthetic cannabinoids into the prison on his and others’ behalf, her plea agreement reads.

Bazemore and McDaniel were two of 20 defendants in the case, as federal prosecutors said they unveiled a smuggling ring at the prison in which inmates would exchange sex and payments via PayPal and Western Union money orders for drugs and contraband.

In addition to McDaniel, Tyirisha Johnson, 23, of Baltimore, and India Parker, 33, of Parkville, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute drugs for their role in the scheme.

An attorney for Parker declined to comment.

Attorneys for McDaniel and Johnson could not be reached for comment.

Parker admitted in her plea agreement that she was an associate of Tavon Price, another inmate at the prison who also faces charges in the case, and “managed the proceeds of illegal contraband sales for Price.”

Parker also admitted to helping smuggle buprenorphine and synthetic cannabinoids into the prison in her plea agreement, writing that she’d provide the drugs to other co-conspirators who would then give them to a “Correctional Dietary Officer” to smuggle into the prison. The agreement does not specifically say that Parker worked with McDaniel.

Johnson pleaded guilty to racketeering in the case, but no plea agreement was listed in online court records.

McDaniel and Parker are set to be sentenced Oct. 2.

Corrections officer Janel Griffin, 40, is also charged in the case. Prosecutors say Griffin also had a relationship with a prisoner.

The case marks the latest alleged scheme to smuggle drugs into Maryland’s prisons using prison employees to aid inmates.

In June, a corrections officer at Eastern Correctional Institution in Somerset County pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges for her part in a scheme to smuggle synthetic cannabinoids and buprenorphine into the prison.

Prison officials say five other officers have been indicted in the case, but have not named them.

In January 2018, two prison guards at the nearby maximum-security prison in Jessup were indicted on charges they helped smuggle heroin, cocaine and cellphones into the prison along with 16 other people.

Advertisement

Two years prior, 80 people were indicted in the largest prison corruption case in Maryland’s history as corrections officers and inmates were charged with smuggling pornography and cellphones into the Eastern Correctional Institution.

In 2013, investigators found imprisoned members of the Black Guerrilla Family gang enjoyed all the pleasures of freedom with help from the guards, four of whom were believed to be impregnated by inmates.

Baltimore Sun reporter Tim Prudente contributed to this article.

Advertisement
Advertisement