Three admitted members of the Black Guerrilla Family prison gang have pleaded guilty to participating in a racketeering conspiracy, according to federal prosecutors.
Eric Brown, 42, Ray Olivis, 57 and Rainbow Williams, 32, all of Baltimore, could receive up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty last week. They're scheduled for sentencing in August.
A fourth defendant, Randolph Edison, could receive up to 10 years after pleading guilty to possession of a stolen firearm, according to prosecutors.
In all, 21 members of the Black Guerrilla Family or their associates have entered guilty pleas, prosecutors said.
They include Kevin Glasscho, 47, of Gwynn Oak, who entered a guilty plea two weeks ago to conspiracy in a racketeering enterprise. He was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison.
A series of racketeering indictments were issued against dozens of defendants accused of drug trafficking, robbery, extortion, bribery, money laundering and retaliation against witnesses inside Maryland prisons.
Several Maryland prison guards were among those swept up in the case for helping to smuggle contraband into the prisons. Several who pleaded guilty in earlier cases were sentenced to one to two years in federal prison.
More defendants are facing charges in the racketeering indictment issued last summer. Their trial is scheduled for Nov. 7, 2011.
The BGF is a nationwide gang whose drug dealing and other illegal activities have spread to prisons and major cities. They became active in Maryland prisons and on the streets of Baltimore in the 1990s.
With the help of corrupt correctional officers, gang members feasted on fresh shrimp, drank Grey Goose vodka and smoked expensive cigars, according to court papers. Imprisoned gang leaders maintained control of their illegal enterprises outside of prison via smuggled cellphones.
In their plea agreements, Brown, Olivis and Williams described themselves as leaders in the BGF, prosecutors said.
Brown admitted he extorted protection money from fellow inmates and transferred some of the drug trafficking funds via prepaid debit card accounts. He said he arranged for contraband to be smuggled into prison using couriers and prison employees.
Williams delivered drugs and other contraband to the prisons, sometimes paying officers to move the goods, he said in his plea agreement.
Olivis was heard in wiretapped phone conversations discussing BGF business and punishments to be meted out to members who violated gang rules, and planning retaliation against a suspected informant, prosecutors said.
U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said the case reflects an "unprecedented commitment" by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to combat crime and corruption in state correctional facilities."
Ava A. Cooper-Davis, special agent-in-charge at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said, "These individuals perpetrated a high level of violence on the streets of Baltimore and beyond, and our communities are safer now, thanks to the efforts of law enforcement."
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