Md. CO charged with taking bribes to smuggle drugs into prison

The CO admitted that he took a payment of $5,400 cash to bring heroin, tobacco and suboxone strips to an inmate for distribution

By Phillip Jackson
The Baltimore Sun

SOMERSET COUNTY, Md. — An intercepted phone call between an inmate at the Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover and his sister on the outside led federal and state investigators to a correctional officer they say helped smuggle drugs and other contraband into the facility, according to a federal criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday.

Maurice Bull admitted to an FBI agent and a Maryland corrections department investigator that he took a payment of $5,400 cash to bring heroin, tobacco and suboxone strips - a medication to help addicts - to an inmate, who would then distribute them, the criminal complaint said. A team of state and federal investigators trailed Bull on Sept. 9, saw him pick up the drugs and pulled him over after observing him speeding, the complaint said.

A police dog alerted to the scent of drugs in Bull’s pickup truck, and he consented to a search, the document said. According to the records, Bull commuted from his home in Delaware to pick up the drugs, and told investigators he planned on bringing them into the prison on Sept. 11, but wasn’t sure how he would be able to smuggle such a large quantity.

During the search, police found a Dollar General store bag holding four knotted balloons containing 20.6 grams of tobacco, 8.2 grams heroin, and 1,398 Suboxone strips weighing 87.2 grams, the complaint said. The items were separated and packaged with the initials inmates who were supposed to receive them, federal court documents said.

Police also pulled a white MECU bank envelope containing $5,400 from Bull’s front left jacket pocket. He was then detained and taken to the Salisbury Barracks for questioning, court documents said.

After initially telling investigators it was his first attempt of smuggling contraband, Bull admitted he received $2,000 for an earlier, smaller run for a different inmate. That exchange was successful, the complaint said.

He is charged with bribery and possessing narcotics with the intent to distribute.

The charges are the latest in a string of arrests at the facility, where dozens of guards and inmates have been accused in recent years of crimes including drug smuggling and facilitating gang activity. In one incident, 70 people, including 18 correctional officers, were charged.

Bull, had been working at Eastern Correctional for one year and five months, according to the charging document.

The complaint said that on Sept. 9, a meeting was arranged between Bull and two women in which the exchange of money and drugs would take place. When plans changed, FBI Task Force Officers conducted a “physical surveillance” of the home of another woman involved, documents said.

Around 9:58 a.m., surveillance team members watched the exchange, then officers from the Maryland State Police’s Gang Enforcement Unit followed Bull’s red, 2018 Chevrolet Colorado pick-up truck, the complaint said. State police observed Bull speeding and stopped his truck in Delmar. When state troopers began to speak with Bull, he appeared “nervous” documents said, and he would not make eye contact while handing over his license, according to the charging documents.

“His hands were shaking excessively,” according to federal court documents.

Officers then searched Bull’s vehicle, found the drugs and made the arrest, the complaint said. There is no attorney listed for Bull in the court records.


©2020 The Baltimore Sun

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