07/07/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Tara Monks // Tara Monks
Baltimore, MD – Fifteen people, including one prison guard, were accused Tuesday, July 6, 2010, of belonging to or aiding a prison gang that smuggled drugs and cellphones into Maryland’s prisons and extorted cash from inmates, according to The Washington Post.
Federal prosecutors accused the group known as the black Guerilla Family of racketeering and other charges. According to the indictment, the gang has existed within nine prisons or jails in the state, and has recently spread to the streets of Baltimore.
Alicia Simmons, a security guard within a Maryland prison, was arrested Tuesday morning at the prison on charges of involvement with the gang.
Federal officials in Maryland have targeted the Black Guerilla Family in recent years.
Adding the racketeering charge to the indictment will encourage defendants to cooperate with authorities, according to U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. Racketeering carries a life sentence.
The 30-page indictment accuses the gang of paying prison guards, either with cash or pre-paid debit cards, to smuggle drugs, tobacco and cellphones into the system. The gang is known for dealing heroine, according to authorities.
The indictment further states that gang members demanded cash from inmates in exchange for “protection.” Those who refused to pay were targeted for violence from the gang.
Each of the 15 defendants is charged with conspiracy to distribute heroine. Fourteen of the defendants, including the guard, are charged with racketeering. Other charges include money laundering, robbery and illegal gun possession.
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