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Maryland Officials: 26 Indicted in Prison Gang Conspiracy Including Correctional Officer

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Sgt. Antoine Fordham/courtesy of Twitter

Twenty-six people, including a correctional officer who is a high-ranking gang member, have been indicted after a nearly yearlong investigation into gang activity and corruption in Maryland’s prisons, state officials said Thursday.

The charges include attempted first-degree murder and smuggling contraband into prison facilities.

Sgt. Antoine Fordham, a correctional officer authorities described as a high-ranking member of the 8-Trey Crips street gang, was the initial target of the probe and among those indicted. The indictment alleges Fordham oversaw much of the gang’s drug dealing activity at a Baltimore intersection. Officials say Fordham and other members of the gang authorized or committed acts of violence to protect the gang’s turf and maintain discipline in the gang.

The investigation grew to include additional gang members, including correctional officer Phillipe Jordan, and other co-conspirators who authorities said were running a large-scale, contraband-delivery operation in several Maryland correctional facilities, including Jessup Correctional Institution.

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Correctional Institution/courtesy of Twitter

“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,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, who announced the indictments with officials from the state’s corrections department and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

Ten of the other indicted co-conspirators were described as outside facilitators, including the mothers of three of the inmates.

The gang committed acts of violence behind bars as well, the indictment alleges. During the investigation, Crips leaders, including Fordham, allegedly ordered an attack on an incarcerated former Crips member, who was stabbed more than 30 times but survived. Two other co-conspirators also allegedly were in a physical altercation with correctional officers who were trying to seize contraband, including drugs, it said.

Lawyers for Fordham and Jordan couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The case is part of an effort to root out corruption in the aftermath of a 2013 case at a state-run jail that led to indictments of dozens of people. In that case, an inmate impregnated four female corrections officers while running a sophisticated criminal organization that smuggled in drugs and cell phones and employed guards as gang associates.

If convicted, the indicted members of the conspiracy face between three years to life imprisonment.

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