BALTIMORE, MD. - Last week, Eric Brown, a/k/a E and EB, age 42; Ray Olivis, a/k/a Ronnie Hargrove, Uncle Ray, Unc and Ray Ray, age 57; and Rainbow Williams, age 32, all of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to conduct and participate in the activities of the Black Guerilla Family (BGF), a racketeering enterprise. Brown and Olivis pleaded guilty on April 27, and Williams pleaded guilty on April 28, 2011.
Another co-defendant, Randolph Edison, a/k/a Uncle Rudy, age 52, of Baltimore pleaded guilty to possession of a stolen firearm on April 29, 2011.
"These convictions are an enormous success for law enforcement and the citizens of Maryland," stated Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Ava A. Cooper-Davis. "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."
The guilty pleas were announced by Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration; United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein; and Secretary Gary D. Maynard of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, “This case reflects an unprecedented commitment by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to combat crime and corruption in state correctional facilities. An intensive investigation that included wiretaps on contraband prison cell phones resulted in evidence that BGF leaders ran the gang while incarcerated in state prisons. The crimes included extorting protection money from other inmates and using contraband cell phones to arrange drug deals, approve robberies and arrange attacks on cooperating witnesses. In addition, gang members persuaded corrupt correctional officers to participate in the gang’s criminal activities by smuggling drugs, tobacco, cell phones and weapons into prisons.”
According to their plea agreements, the Black Guerilla Family (BGF), is a nationwide gang operating in prison facilities and major cities throughout the United States. Founded in California in the 1960s and introduced into the Maryland correctional system in the mid 1990s, BGF in Maryland is increasingly active on the streets of Baltimore City, as well as in various prison facilities in Maryland.
BGF conducts its affairs through a pattern of criminal activity, including: narcotics trafficking, robbery; extortion; bribery; retaliation against a witness or informant; money laundering; and commercial robbery. BGF members arrange to have drugs, tobacco, cell phones, food and other contraband smuggled into Maryland prison facilities, sometimes recruiting and paying employees of prison facilities, including corrections officers, to assist BGF and its members in the smuggling of contraband, the collection of intelligence and in the concealment of BGF's criminal activities. BGF members use violence and threats of violence to coerce incarcerated persons to pay protection money to BGF, to enforce the BGF code of conduct, and to increase their control of the Baltimore City drug trade and the underground "prison economy" in Maryland correctional facilities.
According to their plea agreements, from 2006 through June 2010, Brown, Olivis and Williams were leaders of BGF, enforcing discipline in the gang and directing and participating in the drug trafficking activities of the gang. It was forseeable to each of the defendants that members of the conspiracy possessed with intent to distribute between 700 grams and one kilogram of heroin.
Specifically, while Brown was incarcerated, he extorted a fellow inmate for protection from violence at the hands of BGF members and assaulted another inmate who failed to make timely extortion payments to BGF. Brown and Olivis transferred some of the proceeds of BGF’s illegal activities, including drug trafficking and extortion, into prepaid debit card accounts. In addition, Brown arranged for contraband to be smuggled into correctional facilities through the use of couriers and corrections employees. Rainbow Williams delivered contraband, including narcotics, to corrections officers to be smuggled into correctional facilities, sometimes paying the officer for smuggling the contraband into prison. Williams even attempted to smuggle contraband into a Maryland correctional facility via a pair of tennis shoes, but he was discovered by corrections officials.
During intercepted phone conversations, Williams and Olivis discussed the day to day operations of BGF, violations of BGF protocols, and the sanctions that should be ordered against the members violating those protocols. On April 9, 2009, Williams arranged a meeting of approximately 100 BGF members at Druid Hill Park in Baltimore. In another phone conversation, Olivis and other BGF members discussed retaliating against a suspected informant and plans to assault an inmate who had been involved in the murder of another BGF member’s brother.
The defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. has scheduled sentencing for Eric Brown on August 18, 2011 at 1:00 p.m.; for Ray Olivis on August 24, 2011 at 1:00 p.m.; and for Rainbow Williams on August 30, 2011 at 1:00 p.m.
Edison admitted that, on March 13, 2009, he was traveling in a car with three other individuals when the car was stopped by Baltimore Police officers. During the stop, officers recovered a stolen .44 caliber revolver from Edison. Edison faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on August 23, 2011 at 1:00 p.m.
A fifth co-defendant, Kevin Glasscho, a/k/a KG, age 47, of Gwynn Oak also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise on April 22, 2011, and was sentenced to 151 months in prison. The charges against the remaining defendants in the racketeering indictment are pending. Trial is scheduled for November 7, 2011.