A former correctional officer at the Baltimore City Detention Center pleaded guilty Tuesday to smuggling drugs and other banned items to members of a powerful prison gang.
Jennifer Owens, 31, of Randallstown, Md., is facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for her part in a smuggling conspiracy that included 13 female correctional officers, seven inmates and five others with gang affiliations.
Her smuggled contraband went to a prison gang with influence in several Baltimore correctional facilities, including the BCDC, Baltimore Central Booking Intake Center, Women’s Detention Center and Jail Industries Building.
According to the Baltimore Sun, authorities said the gang had a "stronghold" on these Baltimore detention centers.
Owens worked at the BCDC from 2007 to 2013. She admitted to having a personal and sexual relationship with gang leader Tavon White – who she has two children with – while he was an inmate.
According to the plea agreement, Owens would often smuggle Percocet pills and Suboxone strips into the prison and give them to White and other gang members. There was a period from 2010 to 2011 when she would bring tobacco and marijuana to the prison two to four times per week.
Owens said she sometimes got the contraband from other co-defendants and received either cash or fund transfers onto her Green Dot card in return.
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Owens said she was aware that other officers were also smuggling illegal items into the BCDC. She would sometimes help them move their contraband within the prison, according to her testimony.
Her sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 24.