Prison Gang, Drug Investigation Nets 26 Indictments, Including Guards - Southern Maryland Headline News

Prison Gang, Drug Investigation Nets 26 Indictments, Including Guards

BALTIMORE (December 1, 2017)—Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh on Thursday announced the indictments of 26 people, including two correctional officers, with charges ranging from attempted first-degree murder to drug distribution.

The charges stem from a nearly yearlong, multi-agency investigation, led by the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, into a prison conspiracy involving the 8-Trey Crips, a Baltimore City gang operating both inside Maryland prisons and on the street.

The main target of the joint investigation was Correctional Officer Sgt. Antoine Fordham, who was hired in 2006 and is also a high-ranking member of the 8-Trey Crips street gang.

"He (Fordham) was basically running operations for the 8-Trey Crips up in the northeast section of Baltimore (City) after work, and then going into work and basically providing direction to many of the inmates," DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Don Hibbert said at the announcement.

The investigation grew to include the 26 people indicted in the large-scale operation that was occurring within Maryland correctional facilities, including neighboring Jessup Correctional Institution and Maryland Correctional Institution-Jessup, to traffic drugs into, and money out of, the prisons.

Those indicted include two correctional officers, prisoners and relatives of gang members.

Co-conspirators, including the mothers of three inmates, were indicted on charges of arranging the exchange of contraband, including controlled dangerous substances, for money.

According to Frosh, gang members inside the prison would arrange meetings with the co-conspirators, who would exchange money and the contraband with other co-conspirators. Fordham and Phillipe Jordan, another correctional officer, were both charged with drug trafficking among other crimes.

Violent charges were also included in the indictment, including during the investigation where a former Crips member was discovered to be gay, and was then stabbed more than 30 times. The victim survived.

Penalties faced by those indicted range from three years to life imprisonment, according to Frosh.

"This is just the beginning. We had the case last fall, we have this case today, we have other cases that are coming, and we're not gonna stop until we have pushed every lead that we have about corrupt officers still working for us," said Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Stephen T. Moyer at Thursday's announcement.

As of 2015, Maryland correctional officers are required to pass a polygraph before being hired, according to Moyer.

Last year, federal authorities indicted 80 people, including 18 corrections officers, on charges of sneaking contraband into the Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover, Maryland, and in 2013 the Black Guerilla Family gang used were charged with murder and racketeering while they took control of the Baltimore City Detention Center.

"We want these folks brought to justice. As I said, they are behind bars at the moment, and we want to make sure they stay there for a while," said Frosh.

Attorney General Frosh Announces Indictments of 26 Individuals for Gang Activity in Maryland Correctional Facilities

Defendants Include Two State Correctional Officers;

Charges Include Attempted First-Degree Murder, Gang Participation and Smuggling of Contraband into Prison Facilities

BALTIMORE (November 30, 2017) – Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today announced the indictments of 26 defendants after a nearly year-long, multi-agency investigation of gang activity in Maryland correctional facilities. Charges in the indictments include attempted first-degree murder, gang participation, drug distribution, smuggling of contraband into prison facilities, and misconduct in office. The investigation was led by the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS).

The initial target of the investigation was Correctional Officer Sergeant Antoine Fordham. Fordham is a high-ranking member of the 8-Trey Crips street gang. The 8-Trey Crips is a Crips set that operates inside Baltimore City and in several Maryland counties both inside Maryland correctional facilities and on the street. In his position, Fordham oversaw much of the 8-Trey Crips' drug dealing and other illicit activities near the intersections of Frankford Avenue and Sinclair Lane in Baltimore City. Fordham and other members of the gang authorized and/or committed acts of violence including shootings and assaults to protect the gang's turf and to maintain discipline within the gang.

The investigation grew to include additional gang members and other co-conspirators who together were running a large-scale, contraband-delivery operation in several Maryland correctional facilities, including Jessup Correctional Institution and Maryland Correctional Institution – Jessup, as well as other facilities. Incarcerated members of the gang used contraband cellular phones and Maryland's prison phone system to arrange times and locations for outside facilitators, who acquired the contraband items, to meet and exchange payment and the contraband to the other co-conspirators who would actually bring the items into the correctional facilities. Two of the indicted co-conspirators who brought the items into the facility are Fordham and another correctional officer, Phillipe Jordan. Ten of the other indicted co-conspirators are outside facilitators and include the mothers of three of the inmates. While some payments for the contraband were made in cash, the majority of payments were made using PayPal.

"Gangs are a blight on any community in which they operate," said Attorney General Frosh. "As members of the 8-Trey Crips gang, Fordham and Jordan betrayed their positions of trust by organizing and assisting the import of violence, drugs, and other contraband into the prison system where order is paramount to keeping inmates and staff safe."

The gang perpetrated violence inside the jails as well. During the course of the investigation, Crips leaders, including Fordham, ordered an attack on an incarcerated former Crips member because he was discovered to be homosexual, a violation of the gang's code. The victim was stabbed more than 30 times, but survived. In addition, two other co-conspirators were involved in a physical altercation with correctional officers who were trying to seize contraband, including drugs, that investigators learned had been delivered to the inmates the day before as part of the contraband-delivery operation.

"When elected, Governor Larry Hogan pledged to expose misconduct and corruption in the state correctional system," said DPSCS Secretary Stephen T. Moyer. "Today is another down payment on that pledge sending a clear message to anyone who engages in criminal behavior that we will find you, arrest you and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law."

"This case, through the investigation and subsequent indictments, search warrants, and arrests, shows that the DEA is dedicated to not only investigating and dismantling large scale drug trafficking organizations, but also cases where the distribution includes inmates and correctional officers," said Don Hibbert, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration Baltimore District Office. "DEA, with our federal, state and local partners, will continue to go wherever the case takes us, whether that be overseas, in the streets of Baltimore, or even in the prison system."

Penalties faced by members of the conspiracy range from three years to life imprisonment.

In making today's announcement, Attorney General Frosh thanked Organized Crime Chief Katie Dorian, Assistant Attorneys General Dennis Clark and Zachary Norfolk, and former Assistant Attorney General Melissa Hoppmeyer. Attorney General Frosh also thanked the many law enforcement agencies and prosecuting agencies who assisted in the investigation, including the Drug Enforcement Administration Baltimore District Office, the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Baltimore City Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Anne Arundel County Sheriff's Office, the Baltimore City Sheriff's Office, the Maryland State Police, the United States Marshals Service, the Anne Arundel County State's Attorney's Office, the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office, the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office, and the Office of the State Prosecutor.

A criminal indictment is merely an accusation of wrongdoing, and a defendant is presumed innocent until the State proves the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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