PARKVILLE, MD – Patricia McDaniel, Correctional Dietary Officer, 26, of Baltimore; Tyirisha Johnson, 23, of Baltimore, each pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a federal racketeering charge related to the Maryland Correctional Institute Jessup (MCIJ), and India Parker, 33, of Parkville, pleaded guilty to a drug distribution conspiracy, for participating in a scheme to smuggle contraband, including narcotics, unauthorized flash drives, tobacco, and cell phones into the prison.
The guilty pleas were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Secretary Robert L. Green, of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
“Federal, state, and local officials will continue to work together to root out corrupt employees and others who undermine the administration of justice at our prisons,” said Hur.
According to court documents, MCIJ was a medium-security prison in Anne Arundel County that housed around 1,100 male inmates, with 262 custody staff or Correctional Officers (COs) and 52 non-custody staff, including case management, medical, and administrative staff.
According to their plea agreements, McDaniel, Johnson, and Parker conspired with inmates and others to smuggle contraband into MCIJ, including narcotics, cell phones, unauthorized flash drives, and tobacco. McDaniel admitted that she abused her position of trust as a sworn officer of DPSCS by soliciting and receiving bribes in exchange for bringing contraband into MCIJ.
Johnson and Parker admitted that, as outside facilitators, they managed the proceeds of illegal contraband sales for specific inmates, obtained contraband including, but not limited to, Suboxone strips, Percocet, MDMA, K2, and tobacco from additional co-conspirators, and provided the contraband and bribe payments to MCIJ employees and contractors to smuggle into the prison. Payments for contraband were sent by inmates through PayPal, Green Dot, and Western Union to Johnson and Parker. Inmates and facilitators, such as Johnson and Parker, paid COs, employees, and contractors for smuggled contraband in cash, money orders, Green Dot cards, and using PayPal and other electronic forms of payment.
As detailed in her plea agreement, in order to smuggle contraband into the facility, McDaniel often entered on weekends and secreted the packages on her person in order to avoid detection. Once inside the facility, McDaniel would deliver the packages to an inmate with whom she had a personal relationship, or to other MCIJ inmates. McDaniel was compensated in cash and by PayPal MyCash.
McDaniel, Johnson, and Parker were all overheard by law enforcement on a series of recorded calls arranging for contraband to be smuggled into MCIJ and arranging payment for the contraband and for bribes.
McDaniel, Johnson, and Parker each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis has scheduled sentencing for Johnson on September 20, 2019, and for Parker and McDaniel on October 2, 2019.