Two corrections officers plead guilty in BGF case

Two corrections officers at the Baltimore jail pleaded guilty this week to their part in a Black Guerrilla Family gang smuggling scheme, as remaining defendants in the case filed motions seeking to have evidence against them thrown out.

Jasmine Thornton pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge Thursday, following Jasmin Jones, who pleaded guilty to the same charge Tuesday. In addition to details of how the officers smuggled drugs and other contraband, their plea agreements described the romantic undercurrents of the criminal activity.

Thornton and Jones both had sexual relationships with Jamar Anderson, a BGF leader at the jail, according to their plea agreements. And at one point Jones acted as a lookout so Chania Brooks, another corrections officer, could have sex with Tavon White, the gang's overall leader at the jail. Brooks returned the favor, keeping the coast clear for Anderson and Jones, according to the document.

Brooks and Anderson have pleaded not guilty in the case; White has pleaded guilty.

Another time, Jones witnessed a fight between two corrections officers who were both involved with White and had gotten into a dispute over a Mercedes he was letting one of them drive, according to court documents.

"Ms. Thornton is accepting full responsibility for her conduct in this case is and is very remorseful," said her attorney, M. Scotland Morris.

Jones' attorney could not be reached.

In all, nine of the 24 defendants in the wide-ranging corruption case have pleaded guilty to racketeering charges. But this week attorneys for many of the others took the next step toward a trial and filed the first round of motions in the case, challenging the wiretaps used and the searches carried out when the charges were unsealed.

In one example, Alan R. L. Bussard, the lawyer for a man accused of being a supplier to the gang, argued that federal authorities had been too quick to resort to tapping phones and should have tried other methods first.

Bussard argued that authorities had not tried to carry out a search at either the home or business of his client, James Yarborough, during the investigation. "Therefore, it is mere speculation by the government as to the possible effectiveness of any search warrant," he wrote.

And in another, Christopher Purpura, an attorney for corrections officer Antonia Allison, questioned whether during a previous arrest in February she might have been coerced under the threat of losing her job into making a statement that could be used against her.

Prosecutors have not responded to the filings.

iduncan@baltsun.com

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