By Van Smith
Published in City Paper, Apr. 16, 2010
At first glance, 41-year-old Kimberly McIntosh cuts a sympathetic profile as a working single mom. She has four children between the ages of 12 and 20 who live at home with her at 1120 Homewood Ave., a few blocks south of Baltimore’s Green Mount Cemetery. She has a job at Total Health Care, on Division Street in West Baltimore. She has no criminal record, and though she admits to some casual pot smoking, she does not do hard drugs.
But according to assistant U.S. attorney James Wallner, McIntosh is a stone-cold gangster who has been “at the epicenter of a substantial sector of criminal activity in Baltimore” on behalf of the Black Guerrilla Family (BGF) prison gang. Wallner contends that her home serves as a sort of BGF clubhouse, where large meetings are held and gang members mix up drugs for sale, and that McIntosh is the gang’s financial manager, violence coordinator, and overseer of its heroin-distribution activities.
McIntosh was arrested, along with 12 others, on Monday, Apr. 12, for running the BGF’s operations on the streets of Baltimore, which allegedly involve drug-dealing, violence, and extortion. Some of those arrested held down legitimate jobs—including as anti-gang outreach workers for the Baltimore nonprofit Communities Organized to Improve Life.
On Thursday, Apr. 15, McIntosh’s contradictory appearances were on display before U.S. District Court magistrate judge Susan Gauvey, as Wallner and McIntosh’s attorney, Marc Hall, argued over whether or not McIntosh should be detained in prison pending a trial in the case, which is likely to be a long way off.
Wallner did most of the speaking, unloading information about McIntosh that federal investigators included in a 164-page affidavit in the case—as well as details not included in the affidavit and fresh insights gleaned from statements McIntosh made to the agents who arrested her.
McIntosh, whose name appears 365 times in the lengthy search-warrant affidavit, looms large in the case–so large that Wallner had a hard time knowing where to begin in summarizing her alleged involvement with the BGF. To add “flavor” to her role, he started out by describing aspects of McIntosh’s conversations with a cooperator in the case, who wore a body wire while with McIntosh, that did not make into the affidavit.
“The source states, `People don’t realize how gangster you are,'” Wallner said. “And McIntosh says, `But he knows,'” referring to Asia “Noodles” Carter, whose was shot to death in Charles Village on March 15. “She was referencing her ability to exact justice, if you will, on behalf of the BGF,” Wallner said.
At another point, Wallner said McIntosh discussed with the source a BGF member known as “Loonie,” saying “he ain’t supposed to even be breathing right now,” and added that she’s going to pay him “a nice little visit again.” The affidavit doesn’t refer to this conversation, but it does list a BGF member with that nickname, revealing his real name as Robert Loney. A man with that name, who was indicted for drug dealing in Baltimore County last fall, is currently being sought under a warrant for failing to appear for trial in early March, according to state court records.
Judge Gauvey asked Wallner whether James “Johnny Five” Harris is still alive, since the affidavit reveals that his murder had been ordered by the BGF with McIntosh’s knowledge. Wallner responded that he is currently being detained in jail after his arrest on an outstanding warrant.
When members of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Special Investigations Group raided McIntosh’s home on Apr. 12, Wallner explained, they turned up “at least 18 gelatin capsules of heroin,” as well as BGF paperwork and other records, a police scanner, and copies of The Black Book, a self-improvement guide published by imprisoned BGF leader Eric Brown, who was among 25 alleged BGF members indicted last year in federal court.
At McIntosh’s desk at her Total Health Care job, Wallner continued, they found more BGF documents—and a set of “Second Chance body armor.” As further evidence that McIntosh is prepared for violence, the prosecutor recounted details of an incident alluded to in the affidavit, in which McIntosh, in an attempt to intimidate people, was seen brandishing a large firearm outside of her house.
After McIntosh’s arrest at her home, she was “compliant” with the DEA SIG agents who conducted the raid, Wallner said, answering questions at length after she was read her Miranda rights. She told them she anticipated “more charges” after last year’s indictments, but “she figured it would be RICO,” Wallner stated, an acronym for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization law.
McIntosh told the arresting agents that “high-level members” of the BGF “are threatened by her because she is a female and speaks her mind,” Wallner said. In particular, she told them that Ray Olivis, a co-defendant in last year’s BGF indictments, “began causing her problems” by “spreading rumors” that she had stolen BGF funds.
Olivis was key to BGF’s founding in Maryland. The affidavit states that he “was authorized to open BGF in the State of Maryland prison system in the mid 1990s by the California factions of BGF after Olivis served a prison sentence in California,” where the gang was founded in the 1960s by inmate George Jackson and others, including James “Doc” Holiday.
While talking to agents, McIntosh provided them with evidence of her ties to nationally prominent BGF figures, Wallner said. She showed them a photo of her with a high-level BGF member known as “Soup Bone,” who is serving time for drug-dealing in connection with 78 kilograms og illegal drugs, and a letter to her from Holiday, who is serving a life sentence in Colorado. She also disclosed that “I know I’ve been causing problems in the West Coast, a reference to the BGF on the West Coast,” Wallner said.
Wallner also said McIntosh admitted that “there had to be a certain amount of criminality” in order for BGF members to achieve legitimacy, though she expressed dismay that the BGF had “gotten away from the original tenets of founder George Jackson.” As for James “Johnny Five” Harris, she told agents that he’s responsible for eight murders and that “he needs to be got,” but “nobody was going to do it.”
In arguing for McIntosh’s detention pending trial, Wallner called her an “undetectable bomb” should she be released. He expressed concern over possible “retaliation against sources” of the investigation, pointing out that the affidavit includes details about the sources “that are specific enough that many members are going to know who they are.”
Wallner said that BGF’s “paramilitary structure” makes it adaptable to sudden changes in leadership due to law-enforcement crackdowns. McIntosh and her co-defendants, he said, had taken the reins of the BGF’s street operations after last year’s indictments, and the BGF’s reaction to the current indictment has been swift: He told Gauvey that, since the latest arrests, a “kite” had been “found on Greenmount Avenue, telling other members of the BGF to lay low.” A “kite” is a document that gets passed among the gang, communicating decisions and guidance from the leadership.
Hall—who asked Gauvey to put McIntosh on 24-hour lockdown at home with her 20-year-old daughter as legal custodian—characterized the government’s evidence as “compelling” and called the affidavit “very damning,” though he cautioned that he hasn’t yet reviewed the wiretap recordings to look for frailties in the government’s contentions. He emphasized McIntosh’s clean criminal record, and asked the judge to weigh the cost of McIntosh’s incarceration on her children, particularly her eldest daughter, saying she would be placed “in a very difficult spot” having to care for the other children while being the household’s sole bread-winner.
After hearing both sides, Gauvey deemed McIntosh unfit for release. “Eventually your lawyer may say this is all blowing smoke,” Gauvey said, “but at this point it is impossible for us to be assured” that allowing McIntosh to await trail at home would not be dangerous.
After the hearing, McIntosh’s children and others who attended the hearing in her support gathered outside the courtroom. As her son wiped away tears, a woman expressed shock at the outcome: “That woman don’t even have a fucking criminal record—that is crazy.”