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Baltimore jail officers accused of taking bribes, bringing drugs to gang members

By Lateef Mungin, CNN
November 24, 2013 -- Updated 1740 GMT (0140 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • In all, 27 Baltimore correctional officers have been charged in the scheme
  • They face drug possession and distribution charges
  • In once case, a guard had a prisoner's name tattooed on her wrist, indictment says
  • Some correctional officers allegedly traded sex for money

(CNN) -- A large group of Baltimore corrections officers and members of a notorious prison gang have been working together to peddle drugs, phones and sex inside the city's jail, prosecutors say.

But an indictment released this week is another shot, prosecutors say, at putting an end to it.

The indictment, announcing charges on 14 more Baltimore corrections officers, reads like a script from the now defunct HBO crime drama "The Wire."

But the U.S. Attorney's Office for Maryland says this drama involving a prison gang, the Black Guerrilla Family, and a growing number of Baltimore jail guards has gone on for too long.

"Correctional officers were in bed with BGF inmates," said U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein.

Rosenstein seemed to mean that both literally and figuratively, court documents show. According to one indictment, alleged gang member Tavon White had a sexual relationship with four jail guards while he was incarcerated.

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He impregnated all four of them and they all helped him smuggle items into prison, according to the indictment.

One of the guards had "Tavon" tattooed on her wrist, the indictment said.

In January, White summed up his standing in the prison while talking on a cell phone that had been smuggled in, the indictment says

"This is my jail. You understand that? I'm dead serious. ... I make every final call in this jail ... and nothing go past me. ... Any of my brothers that deal with anybody, it's gonna come to me. Before (somebody) stab somebody, they gotta run it through me," White said. according to the indictment.

Correctional officers were allegedly bribed to smuggle in drugs, cell phones and other prohibited objects, which they hid underneath their clothes, "inside body cavities," even in sandwiches, the indictment said.

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Some inmates who weren't part of the gang had to pay protection money -- or more accurately, their relatives on the outside did -- authorities claim.

"Court documents allege the BGF members recruited correctional officers through personal and often sexual relationships, as well as bribes, and that some officers traded sex for money," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in its news release.

The end result was what Rosenstein's office called a "criminal organization" operating inside jails "enabling (participants) to make large amounts of money through drug trafficking, robbery, assault, extortion, bribery, witness retaliation, money laundering and obstruction of justice."

The investigation first came to light in April with the announcement of the first round of arrests. In all, 44 people have been indicted on federal charges. Twenty seven of them are Baltimore correctional officers, CNN affiliate WJZ reported.

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CNN's Dave Stewart contributed to this report.

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