Black Guerrilla Family members indicted, RICO-style
The Black Guerrilla Family gang - you remember, the ones the federal authorities claim were feasting on shrimp and salmon, puffing on fine cigars and sipping Grey Goose while directing drug deals and killings from behind bars, a la Goodfellas - are back in the headlines, with state and local prosecutors announcing a racketeering indictment against its top leaders. The indictment renews some already-released allegations as well as some new ones, and adds another corrections official to the mix, charging that she helped smuggle contraband.
The Sun's Tricia Bishop reports:
"Alicia Simmons, 34, is accused of smuggling cell phones and heroin into prison for incarcerated members of the powerful Black Guerrilla Family, which court documents say has used such connections for years to live luxuriously behind bars and maintain mafioso-type control of its widespread criminal organization.
Simmons is the fifth Maryland prison guard implicated in the far-reaching scheme, which goes back to 2006 and includes a total of 37 defendants charged since last year."
The 23-page indictment unsealed Tuesday supersedes last year's version and builds on it. It describes the BGF as a sophisticated paramilitary operation that kept a "treasury," made motivational T-shirts (slogan: "Revolution is the Only Solution"), held meetings in Druid Hill Park, developed a gang manual, conducted counter-surveillance on law-enforcement agents and paid off prison workers like Simmons with cash and debit cards.
This case has been far-reaching and spawned multiple new stories. After obtaining a copy of the gang's "Black Book," which outlines principles to bring about revolution in the black community but which authorities allege was used to spread its message - The Sun reported that the book contained endorsements from a former mayoral candidate and other educators, who tried to push the book under the nose of aides to then-Mayor Sheila Dixon.
Rainbow Williams, who two days after leading a gang meeting at Druid Hill Park and was found in possession of a handgun and gang literature, was at the time employed by a group called Partners in Progress mentoring city youth.
After the most recent indictment, we took a look at Communities Organized to Improve Life, where authorities say alleged gang member Todd Duncan used gang outreach work as a front to control gang activities. A reference in the affidavit to the East Baltimore Safe Streets program put that group's funding temporarily on ice - they're now back in operation, though several changes were ordered after flaws were found during a review.