Feds: Virginia prison guards tried to smuggle drugs in for gang

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Federal authorities say they've arrested former prison guards connected to a gang that sells drugs inside Virginia state prisons to help finance its activities.

An indictment unsealed Friday alleges a wide-ranging criminal enterprise by members and associates of the Mad Stone Bloods that includes attempted murder, fraud, robbery and drug trafficking both in and out of prison.

Federal law enforcement officials said they charged 20 members and associates of the gang with racketeering and other charges.

Prosecutors said members of the violent multistate gang, whose leaders are based in New York, aim to enrich themselves through violence and "keep victims, potential witnesses and community members in fear."

Court records do not indicate if those charged Friday have attorneys.

Prosecutors say three former employees at the Department of Corrections who were members or associates of the gang conspired to smuggle drugs into Virginia prisons. Only two were identified. Shaunda Rochelle Jones and Jaymese Jenee Jones, both of Farmville, were prison guards at Buckingham Correctional Facility, prosecutors said.

Authorities say a fourth former Department of Corrections employee who worked as an inmate counselor smuggled contraband in for a gang leader with whom she had a sexual relationship. The inmate counselor, who worked at Lawrenceville Correctional and Greensville Correctional Center in the southern part of the state, has been charged in a related case.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Last month in Maryland, prosecutors alleged that a sweeping racketeering scheme at the state's largest prison lasted years and involved 18 prison guards, 35 inmates and 27 civilians who helped coordinate the flow of drugs and other contraband.