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July 12, 2018: Nine Defendants Plead Guilty to Corruption and Bribery Conspiracy

Nine Defendants Plead Guilty to Corruption and Bribery Conspiracy

 Maryland State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt announced today that nine defendants have plead guilty in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County in relation to their roles in a corruption and bribery conspiracy at the Jessup Correctional Institution (“JCI”).

The nine defendants were indicted by the Grand Jury for Anne Arundel County in December of 2017 on various charges relating to a conspiracy to distribute narcotics at JCI, and the bribery of a Correctional Officer to facilitate this conspiracy.

Defendants Tyrone Johnson, Travis Johnson, Marquis Johnson, Kiana Littlejohn, Latoya Carmichael, Thelma Powers, Kevin Cooper, and Karisma Ashford have all been sentenced by the Honorable Judge M. Crooks, and the sentencing for (former) Correctional Officer Warren Wright is currently pending.

According to the signed plea agreements, Tyrone Johnson, who was incarcerated at JCI serving a life sentence, was the leader of this conspiracy, which began in November of 2015 and lasted over two (2) years. During the conspiracy, Johnson arranged for his sons; Travis and Marquis Johnson as well as Kiana Littlejohn, to pay (former) Correctional Officer Warren Wright bribes of United States currency for Wright to smuggle narcotics into JCI for Johnson to then distribute. The signed plea agreements indicate that members of the Johnson conspiracy met with Wright approximately forty (40) times over the course of two (2) years with Wright being paid a bribe of approximately $500.00 each time. The signed plea agreements further allege that Johnson used Latoya Carmichael, Thelma Powers and others to help manage the proceeds of these narcotic sales through electronic money transfers such as PayPal and Western Union.

For his role in the conspiracy, Tyrone Johnson plead guilty and received a sentence of twenty (20) years consecutive to his underlying sentence. Kevin Cooper, an inmate housed at JCI with Tyrone Johnson, received a four (4) year consecutive sentence to his underlying sentence. Marquis Johnson, Travis Johnson and Karisma Ashford received split sentences for their respective roles in this conspiracy with the sentences ranging from ten (10) years with all but fifteen (15) months suspended in favor of three (3) years of supervised probation to four (4) years suspend all but thirty (30) days and eighteen (18) months of supervised probation.

Charges against a second correctional officer, Phillipe Jordan, Jr., and eight other co-defendants indicted in the prison corruption investigation are still pending.

Davitt expressed his continued appreciation to the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, the Maryland State Police, the Anne Arundel County Police Department and Deputy State Prosecutor Kelly Madigan for their work in making these cases a success.