Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging four defendants with a racketeering conspiracy at the Metropolitan Transition Center (MTC), in Baltimore, Maryland. The indictment charges two former correctional officers (COs), a detainee, and an outside “facilitator” for their roles in the conspiracy, which allegedly involved paying bribes to correctional officers to smuggle contraband, including narcotics, tobacco, and cell phones, into the jail. The indictment was returned on October 13, 2021 and made public today. Charged in the indictment are:
Christopher Mann, age 39, of Baltimore, a detainee at MTC;
Thomas Green, a/k/a “Fatass,”, age 33, of Pikesville, Maryland, a former Correctional Officer at MTC;
Shanese Butler, age 33, of Baltimore, a former Correctional Officer at MTC; and
Cania Jefferson, age 35, of Landsdowne, Maryland, an outside facilitator.
Green, Butler, and Jefferson will have their initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Baltimore today beginning at 2:00 p.m. Mann is currently serving a state sentence and will be brought in for his initial appearance at a later date.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Secretary Robert Green of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
“Corrupt correctional officers that smuggle contraband into jails endanger the lives of their co-workers and the detainees entrusted to their care,” said United States Attorney Erek L. Barron. “Prisoners can use contraband cell phones to direct criminal activity outside, which also endangers the community. The United States Attorney’s Office will continue working with our law enforcement partners to root out prison corruption and prosecute those who abuse their positions of trust to facilitate and engage in criminal behavior.”
“This case demonstrates that we will not tolerate employees in positions of trust violating their oaths,” said Thomas J. Sobocinski, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Baltimore Field Office. “Federal, state, and local officials will continue to work together to ensure public servants who violate their duty for personal gain will be held accountable.”
According to the indictment, MTC is a medium security facility run by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) for the housing of Maryland pretrial detainees. MTC houses approximately 500 male detainees in eight housing areas, or “dorms.”
The indictment alleges that from about June 2020 and continuing until November 2020, the COs smuggled contraband into MTC, including narcotics, cell phones, and tobacco. The indictment alleges that the narcotics smuggled into MTC included buprenorphine, commonly referred to as “Suboxone” and synthetic cannabinoids (otherwise known as “K2”). The COs allegedly accepted and agreed to accept payments from facilitators and detainees as consideration for smuggling contraband into MTC. The indictment alleges that Shanese Butler also engaged in a romantic relationship with Christopher Mann. Mann and his facilitators paid the COs for smuggled contraband using cash and electronic payment platforms, including Cash App. Mann allegedly received payment from other detainees for contraband transactions via Cash App and other methods, often with the assistance of facilitators.
The defendants allegedly used cell phones to communicate with one another and to coordinate their contraband smuggling and trafficking activities. The indictment alleges that by using contraband cell phones, Mann avoided using MTC’s jail call system, thereby enabling him to have undetected and unrecorded conversations with his co-conspirators.
The indictment documents numerous text and phone conversations between Mann, Butler, and Jefferson during which Mann directed Butler and Jefferson to make payments to Green and others and arranged for the delivery of contraband to Green for smuggling into MTC.
On July 29, 2020, Mann allegedly used a contraband cell phone to call Jefferson. Mann told Jefferson that he had just paid a bribe to Green to have Green transport him to a building where Butler was working by herself so that Mann and Butler could have sex. According to the indictment, Mann complained to Jefferson that after he arrived at the building, Butler was reluctant to have sex because she was afraid of being caught. Mann allegedly complained to Jefferson that the aborted rendezvous was a wasted opportunity. The indictment alleges that approximately three week later, during a call on August 19, 2020, Mann instructed Jefferson to purchase an engagement ring for Butler at a store in Columbia Mall. Two days later, Mann allegedly wired $1,650 via Cash App to Jefferson to cover the cost of the ring.
According to the indictment, on several occasions in September 2020, Mann called Butler on a contraband cell phone to discuss sending contraband, specifically paper soaked in liquid K2, through the mail. During one conversation, Butler allegedly suggested sending the paper to another detainee to solicit the detainee’s feedback as to whether the K2 was sufficiently potent. The indictment alleges that in another conversation Butler noted that the paper looked “glossy” and suggested that printing a picture on it would make it less noticeable to law enforcement. Mann allegedly instructed Butler to print a picture depicting “white people” on the paper and to mail the paper to a specific white detainee at MTC. The indictment alleges that Butler subsequently notified Mann that she had sent the K2 soaked paper to the white detainee, using the alias “Tiffany Baker” in the return address.
The indictment alleges that during the same time frame, Mann suggested to Jefferson that his father was concerned that law enforcement officers were aware of his criminal activity. Mann allegedly told Jefferson, “My father acting like the goddam federal agents are coming to get me.” Jefferson allegedly responded, “No, ain’t nobody coming to get nobody.”
On October 2, 2020, law enforcement executed search warrants at residences belonging to Butler and Jefferson. Law enforcement seized K2, as well as drug paraphernalia, from Jefferson’s residence. At Butler’s residence, investigators seized K2, $3,020 in cash, and the engagement ring Jefferson had given to Butler on Mann’s behalf.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the racketeering conspiracy. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI and DPSCS for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter J. Martinez and Aaron S.J. Zelinsky, who are prosecuting the federal case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
# # #
United States v. Dennis Jali, et al.