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BGF Raids Turn Up Evidence of Prison Gang’s Drug-Dealing, But Also Its Ideology

April 22, 2010

James Anthony Harried

The Black Guerrilla Family (BGF) prison gang’s alleged drug-dealing and violence, as described in court documents released as more than a dozen accused members were arrested on Apr. 12, are typical of Baltimore’s crime scene. What’s less prosaic about the BGF cases—including last year’s charges, when 25 other alleged members, many of them inmates, were accused of similar crimes by the Feds—is that the evidence includes documents relating the gang’s political ideology.

In last year’s indictments, a publication called The Black Book: Empowering Black Families and Communities was front-and-center. Put out by Dee Dat Publishing, a company founded by two of those indicted—a veteran inmate, Eric Marcell Brown, who is said to be the BGF’s top leader in Maryland, and Deitra Davenport, a woman with no prior criminal record who had long worked as a nonprofit professional—The Black Book is billed as a community self-improvement guide based on the radical political tenets of BGF founder George Jackson, a Black Power proponent who was killed in a California prison incident in the early 1970s. But prosecutors cast The Black Book as a propaganda tool used for BGF recruitment and said that proceeds were used to underwrite the BGF’s criminal schemes.

In the latest round of BGF federal charges, court documents show that raids at 11 locations on Apr. 12 turned up not only the usual paraphernalia—a gun, ballistic vests, illegal drugs, drug-packaging materials and tools (such as a strainer, digital scales, bags of empty gelatin capsules, and a machine used to fill gelatin capsules), a police scanner, and a host of cellular phones—but also BGF political documents.

A copy of The Black Book was recovered from the Johnston Square home of health-care worker Kimberly McIntosh, where the BGF is said to have conducted its near-daily meetings. Also found there were two milk crates, a briefcase, and numerous binders, notebooks, and folders containing “documents and paperwork related to McIntosh and BGF,” court records show. McIntosh, who has no prior criminal record, is described in court documents as the BGF’s money manager and as someone integrally involved in the gang’s decision-making over drug-dealing and violence. Her attorney, Marc Hall, has declined to comment on the case.

In Essex in Baltimore County, meanwhile, from the residence of accused BGF member James “Smiley” Harried, agents seized the following, which they described in court documents as “BGF paperwork”: “The History of Jamaa, BGF Bloodline, 22 Rules of Jamaa, 33 Constitutional By Laws, 22 Laws of Jamaa,” a “notebook—Jewels Islam,” and “paperwork related to black power.”

According to the search-warrant affidavit in the case, BGF members often say “J” to refer to “Jamaa,” which is “a Swahili term for family and is used primarily by BGF members interchangeably with other monikers to describe BGF. For example, in conversation BGF members will say that ‘he is J,’ meaning the individual is a member of the ‘family.’”

Harried is described in the affidavit as “a high ranking BGF member who is responsible for investigating violations of BGF protocol.” Harried’s attorney, Thomas Crowe, says his client “maintains his innocence.”

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