NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A federal investigation into a bizarre escape attempt at the Metro jail has revealed surprising details about how convicted gang leaders try to run their gangs from behind bars.
One gang leader operated from inside the Metro jail and another from inside the Riverbend Maximum Security prison.
Jamal Shakir is a notorious leader of the Rolling 90s Crips, and he is responsible for nine murders. He is sitting in the Metro jail waiting to be sentenced on federal charges.
Investigators recorded phone calls that show Shakir was trying to re-establish his gang from behind bars.
"You is under my line, and they basically going to under my line," Shakir said during a phone call two months ago.
Federal investigators said Shakir orchestrated an escape attempt that involved landing a helicopter on the roof of the jail. They broke up that plot, but discovered a list of names and telephone numbers inside Shakir's cell.
One of the numbers led to another gang member at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison.
Leornard Baugh was not supposed to have a cell phone, but somehow got one in his cell. He's a known gang member convicted of aggravated kidnapping.
According to court documents, one of the tasks Shakir asked Baugh to help carry out is "locating and killing four witnesses" from Shakir's trial.
Federal prosecutors said Baugh used his cell phone to talk with gang members outside of prison.
When Baugh's girlfriend Tierra Young and her friend LaSondra Dowell were recently held at the Metro jail on drug charges, Baugh tried to help from his inside his cell at Riverbend.
Baugh called outside gang members and planned "armed drug related robberies and abductions" to raise bond money for the women.
Investigators at the Sheriff's Office recorded phone calls coming out of the jail. Kevin Carroll listened to thousands of calls from inmates and said the recordings deter crime.
"Some of the folks incarcerated do continue the behavior they exhibited on the street," said Carroll.
Despite warnings at the beginning of each call that they are recorded, investigators said inmates often reveal details about criminal activity.
"It's an extremely important investigative tool," said Carroll.
The federal government is continuing its investigation into the helicopter escape attempt. So far, at least three people have been arrested as a result of that investigation. Two were in federal court this week on weapons and drug charges. There may be more arrests to come.