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Officer pleads guilty in jail drug-smuggling scandal

A corrections officer pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to smuggling drugs into the Baltimore City Detention Center for members of the Black Guerrilla Family gang.

Adrena Rice, 25, could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years for "frequently" bringing drugs into the detention center on the behalf of Tavon White, prosecutors said in court.

Authorities identified White as a top-ranking Black Guerrilla Family member at the jail who worked with correctional officers to get drugs and cellphones into the jails. He also impregnated four of the officers. Rice was not among the officers accused of conceiving a child with White.

Rice, who appeared in court in pink jeans and a leather jacket, did not speak other than to respond to the judge when he asked if she understood the terms of the plea agreement. Her attorney declined to comment afterward.

She worked as a correctional officer at the jail between 2009 and 2013. According to her plea agreement, she "frequently smuggled controlled substances, including but not limited to marijuana and prescription pills into BCDC on behalf of Tavon White."

The document also said Rice "facilitated the smuggling of controlled substances in the BCDC by other corrections officers, such as Jennifer Owens and Katera Stevenson."

Owens and Stevenson, who each had a child with White, also have pleaded guilty in the scheme. White has also pleaded guilty.

Erin Julius, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said employees who plead guilty to a felony can be fired without the right to appeal. She said she had to speak generally because the case involved a personnel matter.

A federal grand jury previously indicted 25 people, including 13 female jail officers, earlier this year on racketeering and other charges as a result of the drug smuggling and corruption allegations at the downtown facility.

A special General Assembly panel began meeting in the summer to review the state's correctional system as a result of the case and is expected to meet through the fall and recommend improvements to prevent future scandals.

Rice's sentencing is scheduled Jan. 8.

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