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April 12, 2010

DEA: Gang infiltrated youth outreach work

A new federal indictment alleges the notorious Black Guerrilla Family regrouped after last year's sweeping indictments, anointing a new street leader who used his employment as a youth outreach worker as a cover. The wiretap investigation cites confidential informants who claim the program and others like it are affiliated with the BGF and exist to set gang members up with jobs to conceal their criminal activities.

Shortly after the records became public, Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake announced that she was suspending funding for Safe Streets violent intervention programs across the city. Just last month, Rawlings-Blake had committed $1 million to the East Baltimore Safe Streets program, which is not a part of the indictment but is referenced in an affidavit. Safe Streets has been credited with driving down shootings.

The central focus of Monday's indictment is Todd Duncan, a convicted murderer and alleged BGF member who works for Communities Organized to Improve Life, Inc., which runs a West Baltimore outreach center. COIL received $383,000 in federal grants in 2007 to start up a west side Safe Streets office, but their contract was terminated after about a year, officials said. Duncan was hired as part of that process and remained on board after the program was de-funded, continuing the same work.

The indictment calls more attention to the apparent resiliency of these gangs, as well as their ability to infiltrate legitimate enterprises. The Sun wrote last year about a group of educators who endorsed and taught from alleged BGF leader Eric Brown's handbook; and members of Johnny Butler's drug distribution ring that included a city firefighter trainee, a clerk with the state's attorney's office and Johns Hopkins.

There wasn't enough space for all this, but the affidavit spells out a number of recent shootings that the DEA's confidential sources said were connected to the BGF. Those who follow the city crime will see a number of recognizable names. Overall, that document covers far more ground and includes far more players than the actual indictment, perhaps foreshadowing something larger.

-At one point, a confidential informant's phone book is practically emptied out into the court documents. Among those who he tells the DEA are affiliated with the BGF is Nathan "Bodie" Barksdale, a drug kingpin who served as the inspiration for the Avon Barksdale character in "The Wire" and has been out of prison for a few years. Barksdale's name never appears again in the affidavit, however. 

-A source explains to DEA agents that he overheard BGF members discussing the abduction and killing of Marcal Walton, and says that Kim McIntosh, one of the 13 people indicted this week, picked up the ransom money. The documents say that Baltimore police have identified a suspect in that killing.

-On page 100, they discuss the drive-by murder of Asia Carter, which occurred in Remington last month. According to the agents, one of the men said he did not like Carter, who they say was known for robbing people, but wanted to clear his name and let it be known that he was not involved in Carter's murder. 

-At another point, a source relayed that Duncan had scolded a BGF member because "all of the shootings and murders [he] had been committing needed to be cleared through him." The man then "produced a large handgun and advised that he will do what ever he wants and no one will stop him."

-According to a source, Duncan was receiving 300 grams of heroin free of charge from a drug dealer named Terry Johnson, because Johnson's associates murdered Duncan's cousin, Darnell Gray. The source said that "Johnson is not charging Duncan for the heroin because he believes that as long as Duncan receives the heroin, Duncan and or his associates will not retaliate against Johnson for the murder of Duncan's cousin. [The source] stated that Duncan and his associates are extremely violent and will ultimately murder Johnson."

-On page 89, Duncan and McIntosh discuss an associate's recent arrest, and McIntosh tells Duncan that two DNA profiles can be identified within one sample. "Yeah see technology nowadays is a bitch," McIntosh is recorded as saying. 

Posted by Justin Fenton at 9:39 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: East Baltimore, Gangs, West Baltimore


Dear Citizens of Baltimore,

It finally went public Baltimore. Gangs are everywhere. Of course, there will be some who say that's ridiculous.

What are you going to do about it? Are you going to close your eyes and say the DEA fabricated the crimes against the poor misunderstood and innocent gang members?

Or are you going to stand up and recognize that this as a prelude to war. These gangs are extorting money, selling drugs and committing murder in your city. They are no different that any terrorist in Afghanistan.

It’s time the Citizens of Baltimore, the communities and the neighborhoods TAKE BACK WHAT’S THEIRS!!!!

What are you waiting for? The longer you wait the more these gangs become entrenched into every fabric of our communities.

I am not taking about “vigilantism” – I am talking about three things the Citizens of Baltimore can do to take back their streets.

1. Visit your local precinct. Talk to the Cops - YOU need them and THEY need you. If you wait for your elected officials to do something it will be too late. The Cops who risk their lives 365 days of the year need your help as you need theirs. The Baltimore City Police want to work with communities and neighborhoods to help you help yourselves.
They work closely with Mr. Jack Baker and Mr. Marcus Dent.

2. Mr. Baker is one of the foremost authorities in organizing COPs (Citizens on Patrol). Contact Mr. Jack Baker at

3. Mr. Marcus Dent the leader of the Baltimore Guardian Angels. Contact Mr. Dent at

Mr. Baker and Mr. Dent can help you organize your community. They can teach you how to take back your community.

Don’t wait Baltimore – Think about it!!!


It is a real shame that the behavior and actions of a few has dismounted a program that was apparently doing some good.
Certainly we can suspect that funding will ultimatyely be cut and those ex-offenders who could have benefitted from such programs will not now.I am clear we must adiopt an attitude of "Our Community-Our Responsibility" When government funding is funding you - They have the right to cut it when they get damn ready. Too bad a group of bad apples have spoled the entire box of apples.

I was reading not long ago about Pfizer was to big for the feds to nail. The Company basically got a slap on the wrist and was able to brush of the indictments. The Gov gets punked by the real drug dealers all the time. If a 2 bit hustler thinks they can get one over on the Government its a different story altogether. I hope the outreach program can still do some good.

Here's the indictment

How did you miss the connection to the drama earlier last year with the BGF member working at the school? The group that brought him in and the school officials are still around. City Paper did an article but they missed the big connections too. BGF has a few key players in the school system and are soaking up major cash. The group that brought BGF to the school also plays with Safe Streets, come on man!

Hm, The Sun and the CityPaper both wrote about Rainbow Williams' employment with Partners in Progress. What are you saying we missed? You can email me if you prefer: -Justin

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.

Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.

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