Five Correctional Officers, an Inmate, and a Drug Supplier Plead Guilty in Baltimore Jail Racketeering Conspiracy
BALTIMORE, MD—U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Sean Graves, age 48, of Windsor Mill, Maryland, today to 28 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for participating in a racketeering conspiracy that included the smuggling of drugs and contraband inside the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC).
Earlier this week, four former correctional officers, Angela Johnson, age 35, Antonia Allison, age 28, and Javonne Lunkin, age 29, all of Baltimore, and Kevin Armstrong, age 27, of Gwynn Oak, Maryland, pleaded guilty to participating in the racketeering conspiracy.
Additionally, last week, former correctional officer Tiffany Linder, age 28, former inmate Derius Duncan, age 24, both of Baltimore, and Linnard Wortham, a/k/a “Stu,” age 29, of Pikesville, Maryland, pleaded guilty to the racketeering conspiracy. Wortham also pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.
The guilty pleas and sentence were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Secretary Gregg Hershberger of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services; Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein.
This case was developed as a result of the efforts of the Maryland Prison Task Force, formed in 2011 with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, and prosecutors. The Task Force has met regularly for over three years, generating recommendations to reform prison procedures and producing leads that have been pursued by state, local and federal criminal investigators. The investigation is continuing.
According to court documents, the Black Guerilla Family (BGF) has been the dominant gang at the BCDC, and in several connected facilities, including the Baltimore Central Booking Intake Center (BCBIC), the Women’s Detention Center, which houses many men, and in the Jail Industries Building.
Graves, Johnson, Armstrong, Allison, Linder and Lunkin were correctional officers (COs) at the BCDC who smuggled contraband into the jail for distribution by BGF inmates. Graves smuggled Percocet, marijuana and tobacco into the jail from 2011 to 2013 on behalf of BGF leader Tavon White. Graves acted in concert with other correctional officers. Johnson admitted that she smuggled drugs such as Percocet, into the jail.
Allison admitted that she worked with other COs to smuggle drugs such as Suboxone and other prescription pills as well as marijuana, into the jail. Allison knew other inmates and COs who were involved in smuggling, and in sexual relationships. Armstrong admitted that he smuggled prescription pills, marijuana, cell phones and tobacco into the jail from 2011 to 2012. Armstrong acted in concert with Allison and other correctional officers.
Linder admitted that she smuggled prescription pills into BCDC for BGF inmates such as Tavon White. Linder also warned White of impending searches of BCDC and White in turn warned other BGF members. Lunkin was a CO at the BCDC Jail Industries Building in 2012 to 2013, and cooperated with others, including CO Katera Stevenson, in smuggling contraband into the jail. Lunkin knew other inmates and COs were involved in smuggling and in sexual relationships.
According to his plea agreement, Duncan is a BGF member. Duncan was in pretrial custody at BCDC from 2012 to 2013 and directed the smuggling of contraband into the jail, including cell phones, tobacco and other drugs, through COs who received payments, gifts or a share of the profits. Duncan had a sexual relationship with one of the COs involved in contraband trafficking. Duncan and his closest BGF allies frequently used others to obtain contraband outside the prison, and hold it or deliver it to COs for smuggling.
Wortham supplied contraband, including marijuana, that was smuggled into BCDC. COs such as Jasmine Thornton and Kimberly Dennis received the contraband from Wortham and then smuggled the contraband to BCDC inmates, including Duncan and Jamar Anderson. Law enforcement executed a search warrant at Wortham’s residence on November 20, 2013 and seized crack cocaine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and $4,000.
U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander scheduled sentencing for:
- Wortham on January 9, 2015
- Allison on January 16,
- Duncan on January 23,
- Linder, Lunkin and Armstrong on January 30, and
- Johnson on February 6.
The defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for the racketeering conspiracy. Wortham also faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison for the drug offense.
To date, 34 of the 44 defendants charged in the conspiracy have pleaded guilty, including 21 correctional officers. One defendant has died. Trial is scheduled to begin November 17, 2014 for the remaining defendants.
U.S. Attorney Rosenstein recognized the efforts of the other members of the Maryland Prison Task Force, including: Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Chief Mark A. Magaw of the Prince George’s County Police Department; United States Marshal Johnny Hughes; Special Agent in Charge Karl C. Colder of the Drug Enforcement Administration—Washington Field Division; Tom Carr, Director of the Washington-Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area; and Dave Engel, Executive Director of the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI, Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Baltimore Police Department, and Maryland Prison Task Force, for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Robert R. Harding and Ayn B. Ducao, who are prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.