A former prison exterminator has pleaded guilty to racketeering as he and two others admitted they participated in a drug smuggling ring that saw corrections officers, inmates and prison employees smuggle various drugs into a Jessup prison.

Ricky McNeely, an exterminator that contracted with the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to work at several prisons, pleaded guilty to the charge Aug. 23 and admitted in a plea agreement he was able to sneak various drugs into Maryland Correctional Institute Jessup in his work bag, despite the fact that the bag was supposed to be regularly inspected by security.

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Two other co-defendants — Jerrell McNeill and Corey Alston, 29, an inmate at the prison — pleaded guilty to racketeering Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, writing in their plea agreements that they helped to smuggle drugs into the prison.

An attorney for McNeely declined to comment. Attorneys for McNeill and Alston did not return calls seeking comment.

The pleas come as part of a sweeping investigation into drug smuggling at the prison. Prosecutors allege a ring of 20 people, including corrections officers and prison employees, brought various drugs into the prison in exchange for sex and cash.

McNeely began working at the Jessup prison in 2015. He had complete access to the facility while escorted by a corrections officer, according to his plea.

“At some point prior to 2017,” the plea agreement reads, McNeely began smuggling drugs into the prison in exchange for cash. McNeely wrote that he brought in the contraband packages for Todd Holloway, an inmate and co-defendant in the case, as well as an unnamed co-conspirator.

An attorney for Holloway, who still faces racketeering and drug conspiracy charges, did not return calls seeking comment.

McNeely wrote that he would meet up with co-conspirators outside the prison, who would give him the drugs and pay him for the smuggling.

“Subsequently, McNeely brought the packages into [Maryland Correctional Institute Jessup] in his work bag, which was regularly not checked when McNeely went through security, despite regulations to the contrary,” his plea agreement reads.

Paul Starks, spokesman for the state Department of Corrections and Public Safety, which oversees the prison, said that any time contraband is found smuggled into a prison, it triggers an internal review. He added that corrections employees are regularly trained on how to search visitors to the prison.

“We check everything," Starks said. "There’s a variety of maintenance that must occur at facilities of this size."

“The staff is accustomed to searching all kinds of different containers or equipment,” he added.

McNeely was caught by a corrections officer trying to drop off drugs in the prison library on July 17, 2017, the plea agreement reads. He was found with 215 Suboxone strips, heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and K2, a form of synthetic marijuana.

Alston, who was incarcerated at the prison after pleading guilty to attempted second-degree murder and a weapons charge in 2017, wrote in his plea agreement that he conspired with other co-defendants to obtain illicit substances, including Suboxone, Percocet, MDMA, K2 and tobacco.

He also helped bribe corrections employees, his plea agreement reads. Investigators caught him on a wiretapped phone conversation discussing payments for a correctional officer and contract nurse who worked at the prison and who are co-defendants in the case.

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As for McNeill, he wrote in his plea agreement that he worked outside the prison and conspired with co-defendant Jerrard Bazemore to bring drugs into the prison.

Bazemore, also known as “Tic,” is accused of helping smuggle various drugs into the prison with the help of Patricia McDaniel, a 26-year-old correctional dietary officer at the prison who pleaded guilty to racketeering in July.

McNeill was heard discussing how to smuggle drugs into the prison as well as payments to various employees during recorded phone calls from August 2017 through September 2017, his plea agreement reads.

Six people have now pleaded guilty in the case as Tyirisha Johnson, 23, of Baltimore, and India Parker, 33, of Parkville, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute drugs in July for their role in the ring.

The case is one of several alleged schemes to smuggle drugs in prisons across Maryland.

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 charged, but so far they have not named them.

It was the second time guards were charged with smuggling contraband into the Eastern Shore prison. Eighty people were indicted in the state’s largest prison corruption case in 2016 as prosecutors alleged inmates and corrections officers conspired to sneak pornography and cellphones into the prison.

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

In 2013, investigators found the Black Guerrilla Family gang conspired with guards and infiltrated the state’s prisons to the point they enjoyed all of the pleasures of freedom while incarcerated. Four of the guards were believed to have been impregnated by inmates.

Baltimore Sun reporter Tim Prudente contributed to this article.

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