2 More Guards Suspended in Md. Jail Probe

By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Prince George's County corrections officer accused of smuggling cellphones into the jail for inmates is a suspected member of the Bloods street gang and was bringing the phones to fellow gang members "as part of an organized conspiracy" involving fellow officers, according to charging documents made public yesterday.

Also yesterday, officials suspended two additional corrections officers as a result of the investigation, bringing the total to four, including the officer who was criminally charged, Pierre L. Sailsman.

Sailsman, 22, was arrested by county police Thursday in the parking lot of the county jail in Upper Marlboro. Two inmates reported seeing Sailsman hand cellphones to inmates who are Bloods members, according to the charging document.

The conspiracy involving the cellphones ran from November until last month, according to the charging document, sworn out by an investigator with the county police gang unit.

Three cellphones were found in the jail, the document states. Two were found in one housing unit, and one in another, according to the document. One of the phones was in a locked utility room, plugged into a charger, the document states.

Sailsman's home telephone number is unlisted, and it was unclear whether he had hired an attorney. Messages left late yesterday for two officials with a union representing corrections officers were not immediately returned.

The same day Sailsman was arrested, another corrections officer, Frank Yeboah, 26, was suspended with pay in connection with the cellphone probe.

Inmates are prohibited from having cellphones or other electronic devices. Inmates could use cellphones to call friends or associates to arrange for witnesses to be intimidated or to try to plan a jailbreak, officials said.

The officers suspended with pay yesterday -- Patricia Wilson, 31, and Jasmine Fowler, 22 -- are being investigated on suspicions that they had inappropriate sexual relationships with inmates, said a government source familiar with the investigation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe is ongoing. The alleged activities of Wilson and Fowler came to light during the investigation involving the cellphones, the source said.

In all, at least six current or former jail employees have been accused of wrongdoing during the past three months. In January, Renardo A. Humphrey, 19, was charged with armed robbery and other crimes in Charles County. He was suspended without pay.

Last month, Rose C. Merchant, then a deputy director at the jail, was fired after she was charged in Fairfax County with impersonating a police officer. Merchant has said she is innocent.

Two weeks ago, Keith A. Washington, a former county official and county police officer convicted of involuntary manslaughter and other charges last month, was found with a handcuff key during a strip search. A few days later, another inmate surrendered a handcuff key he said he found in a common area of a housing unit at the jail, officials said. The investigation into how the keys got into the jail is ongoing, officials said.

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