3 plead guilty to Eastern Shore jail racketeering scheme

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Rod J. Rosenstein, a US Attorney for the district of Maryland, discusses the case

BALTIMORE, Md. — Two civilians and a correctional officer have pled guilty in a racketeering conspiracy at a jail in Westover, and the correctional officer has also pled guilty for her involvement in an inmate’s stabbing.

Correctional Officer Rachelle Hankerson, age 26, of Salisbury, Maryland; Ramel Chase, age 34, of Glen Burnie, Maryland; and Miguel Matos, age 46, of Ft. Washington, Maryland, pleaded guilty this week to racketeering conspiracy operating at the Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover, Maryland.

Hankerson also pled guilty to deprivation of rights under color of law for her participation in the stabbing of an inmate, when she allowed a co-defendant (a member of the Bloods gang) into the inmate’s cell. The Bloods member stabbed this inmate multiple times.

An inmate told Hankerson about the stabbing, but instead of notifying authorities she left the area and told another inmate to lie about her whereabouts during the stabbing.

Hankerson charged at least $500 for every package of contraband she smuggled into ECI. Chase, an inmate, and Matos, the father of an inmate, assisted in smuggling. Chase bribed COs to smuggle items, including narcotics, and ran a smuggling and distribution network. Matos facilitated his son’s smuggling by obtaining narcotics and other contraband. He was also financially involved.

Law enforcement caught those involved by intercepting calls and eavesdropping on conversations among the co-conspirators.

The defendants each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the racketeering conspiracy. Hankerson faces an additional 10 years for her role in the stabbing.

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