Former corrections officer, 2 inmates plead guilty to racketeering in Jessup prison scheme

Four people — a former corrections officer, two inmates and an outside “facilitator” — pleaded guilty to federal racketeering conspiracy at Maryland’s maximum-security Jessup Correctional Institution, the Justice Department said Wednesday.

The scheme involved bribes to correctional officers to enable the smuggling of contraband, including narcotics, alcohol, tobacco and cellphones, into the prison.

Former corrections officer Dominique Booker, 45, of Baltimore; inmates William Cox, 45, and Vernard Majette, 40; and facilitator Vonda Bolden, 57, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty.

The DOJ said law enforcement intercepted phone calls and text messages in which the four talked about contraband to be smuggled into JCI, as well as bribe payments.

Cox and Majette both had contraband phones.

In her plea agreement, Booker said she conspired with Cox — with whom she had a romantic relationship — to orchestrate the smuggling, which included controlled dangerous substances.

According to the DOJ, Booker and her vehicle were searched as she entered JCI in January 2019 and contraband, including plastic baggies containing the synthetic cannabinoid K-2, were found.

Bolden, in her plea agreement, admitted that she worked with her son and co-defendant, inmate Marshall Hill, to make bribe payments, get contraband, meet with co-conspirators to deliver contraband and communicate with other inmates to move the contraband within the prison. She said this was done at Hill’s direction.

All four face a maximum sentence of 20 years for racketeering conspiracy.

All 15 people charged in the case have now pleaded guilty. Hill has been sentenced to four years.

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Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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