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Baltimore correctional officers face U.S. smuggling charges

“Corrupt correctional officers endanger the lives of their co-workers and of the detainees entrusted to their care and supervision,” said U.S. Attorney for Maryland Robert K. Hur said in announcing the indictments. (The Daily Record/File Photo)

“Corrupt correctional officers endanger the lives of their co-workers and of the detainees entrusted to their care and supervision,” said U.S. Attorney for Maryland Robert K. Hur said in announcing the indictment. (The Daily Record/File Photo)

Three correctional officers are among nine people facing federal charges of conspiring to smuggle narcotics, cellphones and tobacco into the Chesapeake Detention Facility in Baltimore, Maryland U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur said Wednesday.

The alleged scheme, which also included four detainees and two people on the outside, involved bribes to correctional officers and had been in operation for about four years, according to the federal grand jury indictment returned last week in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

The correctional officers allegedly smuggled the contraband – including marijuana and suboxone – to the detainees who would then sell it to fellow prisoners at a profit of up to 800 percent, the indictment stated.

The detainees allegedly paid the officers for the contraband in cash, through a cash app or via sexual favors, according to the indictment.

“Corrupt correctional officers endanger the lives of their co-workers and of the detainees entrusted to their care and supervision,” Hur said in a statement announcing the indictment.

“They also endanger the entire community, as prisoners can use contraband cellphones to direct criminal activity outside prison walls,” Hur added. “The United States Attorney’s Office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to root out prison corruption and prosecute correctional officers who abuse their positions of trust to facilitate and engage in criminal behavior.”

The CDF houses 500 pretrial federal detainees and is run by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services under a contract with the U.S. Marshals Service, Hur’s office stated. The facility is staffed by about 200 correctional officers and other employees.

According to the indictment, the correctional officers allegedly eluded security by hiding the contraband in their clothing, bags or food containers.

The officers allegedly delivered the contraband to the detainees in their cells, in private offices where staff and detainees interacted and in the hallways of detainee housing pods, the indictment stated. Officers and detainees also allegedly had prearranged drop locations, including janitorial carts, laundry facilities and property rooms in the jail, the indictment added.

The outside facilitators allegedly procured the narcotics, cellphones and tobacco and paid the officers to deliver the contraband to the detainees, according to the indictment.

“In a city like Baltimore where fighting crime is a top priority, we cannot and will not accept perpetuation of a cycle of illegal activity inside prison walls,” Jennifer C. Boone, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore office, said in a joint statement with Hur.

Those indicted are officers Darren Parker and Andre “2Chainz” Davis of Baltimore and Talaia Youngblood of Randallstown; detainees James “Mook” Hair, Donte “Cruddy” Thomas, Bernard “Tony” Bey and Andre “Arnie Webb; and facilitators Lynette Carlest and Jasmine Coleman of Baltimore.

Each defendant could face a prison sentence of up to 20 years if convicted of the racketeering conspiracy.

“The department’s mission is to protect its employees, detainees and inmates, and the public,” DPSCS Secretary Robert L. Green said in a joint statement with Hur. “Any introduction of contraband or breach of integrity threatens that mission and will not be tolerated, which is precisely why we initiated the investigation and asked the U.S. attorney to assist. We are grateful for their partnership.”

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter J. Martinez and Christina A. Hoffman, Hur said.

The defendants were not yet represented by counsel as of Wednesday afternoon, according to online court records.

The case is United States of America v. Darren Parker et al., Criminal No. GLR 20-0350.


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