Correctional Officer, Two Others Plead Guilty to Racketeering Co - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Correctional Officer, Two Others Plead Guilty to Racketeering Conspiracy at ECI

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Eastern Correctional Institution (Photo: WBOC) Eastern Correctional Institution (Photo: WBOC)

BALTIMORE- Federal prosecutors say a correctional officer and two other people pleaded guilty this week to racketeering conspiracy operating at Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover on Maryland's Eastern Shore. 

The correctional officer, 26-year-old Rachelle Hankerson, of Salisbury, also pleaded guilty to deprivation of rights under color of law for participating in the stabbing of an inmate.

The other two defendants were ECI inmate Ramel Chase, of Glen Burnie, Maryland; and Miguel Matos, 46, of Ft. Washington, Md. and the father of an inmate at ECI. 

According to court documents, Hankerson admitted that she accepted payments from facilitators and inmates to smuggle contraband into ECI, including narcotics, cellphones and tobacco.  Hankerson charged at least $500 per package of contraband she smuggled into ECI.  Hankerson also admitted that she approached a co-defendant who was a member of the Bloods gang at ECI for whom she smuggled contraband, and asked the inmate to confront inmate D.S., with whom Hankerson had had an argument.  Hankerson twice allowed her co-defendant onto the tier where D.S. was housed. Court records show that the second time that the co-defendant entered D.S.’s cell he violently attacked D.S., stabbing him multiple times. 

Court records also show that another inmate told Hankerson about the violent confrontation, but rather than notifying prison authorities, Hankerson left the area, court records show. She later told an inmate to provide a false story to prison authorities that Hankerson had not been on the tier when the attack occurred.

According to his plea agreement, Chase admitted that he bribed and attempted to bribe correctional officers to smuggle contraband, including narcotics, into ECI. Chase managed a contraband smuggling and distribution network involving co-defendants and others. In his plea agreement, Matos admitted that he facilitated his son’s contraband smuggling in ECI by obtaining narcotics and other contraband and transferring it to co-conspirators who smuggled it into the facility.  In addition, Matos performed financial transactions in furtherance of the smuggling.

Law enforcement intercepted multiple calls in which Hankerson, Chase, Matos and others working with them discussed contraband, arranging meetings with correctional officers, and payment for contraband.  In calls between Matos and his son, investigators overheard them discussing correctional officers who smuggled contraband into ECI for them. Matos was also overheard discussing the packaging and delivery of contraband with a supplier, according to court documents. 

The defendants each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the racketeering conspiracy. Hankerson also faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for deprivation of rights under color of law for her participation in the stabbing of an inmate.

U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar has scheduled sentencing for Matos on Feb. 24, 2017, at 10 a.m.; for Hankerson on March 7, 2017 at 2 p.m.; and for Chase on Jan. 17, 2017 at 2 p.m.

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