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Tavon White used to run his Baltimore jail. He later testified to the vast network of smuggling drugs and cell phones that he and other gang members had been part of, and both a federal judge and prosecutor praised him for his work on the case.
In a scandal that has lasted over two years and has seen 35 different defendants plead guilty to involvement in the scheme, White described how the Black Guerrilla Family gang ran a smuggling operation inside the prison itself. White has even fathered four children with corrections officers during his time there.
As part of a deal for his part in testifying, White will not serve additional time for his part in the conspiracy. Instead, his 12-year sentence will run concurrently with the 20-year sentence he was already serving for attempted murder.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Harding noted that White “assumed a risk he will have to live with the rest of his life” and that “his whole life is going to be different now.”
But not everyone was pleased with White’s deal. Prosecutors in the case played up White’s role, even playing recordings in which White can be heard bragging, “This is my jail.”
“He got a hell of a lot better deal than he deserved,” said Edward Sussman, a defense attorney whose client, a corrections officer, was acquitted. “The government paid too much for his testimony.”
“I don’t think he was particularly believable,” Sussman added, noting that he was able to poke holes in White’s story easily.
However, Harding pointed out that even White’s involvement in the gang-run conspiracy was positive. “He became a peacemaker in the facility,” Harding said. “He made the place less violent.”
White will be returning to prison to finish out his sentence, but it will probably not be the same prison he used to “run.”