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Attorney General Announces Guilty Pleas in Prison Drug-Smuggling Ring

September 4th, 2018 by WCBC Radio

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today announced the guilty pleas of four defendants for their role in a drug-smuggling ring in a Maryland correctional facility.  The investigation was led by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Unit and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS).

 

The investigation began with a tip to intelligence officers at Patuxent Institution in Jessup that two women would be bringing Suboxone into the facility. The women were later identified as Joquitta Diamond Ferguson, 23, of Baltimore, and Bishea Taylor Lacruze, 24, of Baltimore. On October 6, 2017, the women arrived at Patuxent Institution for visitation hours, and checked in to visit with two inmates: Andrew Joseph Dicks, Sr., 46, formerly of Baltimore, and Michael Eddie Brock, 25, formerly of Baltimore.  The DPSCS officers approached the women prior to them gaining access to the visitation room, and successfully recovered a balloon with approximately 100 Suboxone strips. The investigation surveillance video footage of two prior incidents in September, 2017 where Ferguson successfully passed a balloon to Dicks.  Further investigation confirmed the involvement of all four defendants.

 

“These individuals organized and assisted in the distribution of contraband into our correctional facilities,” said Attorney General Frosh.  “As a result of our investigation, the drugs were seized and they will serve time behind bars.” 

 

Ferguson pleaded guilty in Howard County Circuit Court to possession of buprenorphine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to deliver contraband. Sentencing has been set for October 25, 2018.  Dicks pleaded guilty to attempted possession of buprenorphine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to deliver contraband. He was sentenced to three years incarceration.  Brock pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deliver contraband and also sentenced to three years  incarceration.  Lacruze pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deliver contraband.  Sentencing has been set for October 25, 2018.

 

Suboxone is a combination of two drugs, Buprenorphine and Naloxone. It is manufactured as a sublingual film, similar to a breath strip, and is as small and thin as a postage stamp. Its compact size makes it a prime target for those attempting to smuggle drugs into correctional facilities. The 100 strips have an approximate value of $10,000 within the prison walls.

 

In making today’s announcement, Attorney General Frosh thanked Organized Crime Chief Katie Dorian, Assistant Attorney General Jared Albert, and DPSCS Detective Sergeant Alan Savage. Attorney General Frosh also thanked the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office for their assistance in this prosecution.

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