Corrections Officer Sentenced to Prison for Role in Jailhouse Conspiracy
The first of more than two dozen Maryland corrections officers indicted in a drug smuggling scandal has been sentenced to prison, federal law enforcement officials announced.
Adrena Rice, of Baltimore, was sentenced to 42 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release for smuggling drugs to incarcerated members of the Black Guerilla Family gang, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a January 2014 news release. Rice pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge.
Prosecutors said Rice used her position as a corrections officer at the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC) to smuggle marijuana and Percocet, a prescription pain pill, into the facility for gang leader Tavon White, who was serving a sentence there.
Rice was one of 13 female corrections officers charged in April 2013 with participating in the smuggling scheme, The Baltimore Sun reported. Twelve additional people, including White and three other inmates at the Baltimore correctional facility, were also charged. Sixteen of the 25, including Rice, have pleaded guilty, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website.
But the scandal didn’t end there. In November 2013, an additional 14 state correctional officers were charged with aiding the Black Guerilla Family, bringing the total number of guards involved to 27. The guards in the second round of indictments face similar charges of smuggling cell phones, drugs and other contraband into BCDC at the behest of the gang.
Unlike the first round of charges, which included only lower-level jail officers, the recent round included two supervisors.
Investigators said Black Guerilla members bribed prison guards and other detention center employees, who smuggled drugs into the facility in their shoes, beneath their clothing and even inside sandwiches. The detention center became the headquarters for a crime ring that engaged in extortion, money laundering, drug trafficking and other offenses, according to prosecutors.
A commission of 12 Maryland lawmakers, formed to investigate the scandal, issued a report in December 2013 in which it recommended replacing the aging and dangerous detention center at a cost of more than $530 million over 10 years.
The panel also recommended better training for new hires and harsher penalties for smuggling contraband into facilities, according to The Washington Post. The panel’s 18 recommendations are expected to be considered by the Maryland General Assembly during its 2014 legislative session, which began in January.