Maryland: guards, inmates accused of prison smuggling scheme

A tip from a concerned prison guard has turned into the single largest federal case in Maryland's history: 80 people including corrections officers, inmates and "outside facilitators" have been charged with orchestrating a vast contraband smuggling enterprise that involved trading drugs, pornography, tobacco and cellphones to state prisoners for money and sex.

Two federal indictments unsealed Wednesday allege a sweeping racketeering scheme infiltrated the Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover — Maryland's largest state prison — and that it involved 18 prison guards, 35 inmates and 27 civilians who helped with the flow of drugs and other contraband.

Authorities say state investigators and counterparts from the FBI cracked the case by relying heavily on wiretaps.