State prison officials say they have launched an investigation into reports that a Salinas Valley State Prison inmate is orchestrating hits from behind bars with a contraband cell phone.
Yusuf Bey IV, who is serving three consecutive life sentences for the 2007 murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey and other crimes, is believed to have sent text messages to at least one follower and directed that person to join plans to hurt people Bey believed had crossed him, as first reported by The Mercury News.
The newspaper received the text messages connected to the alleged plot. Vicky Waters, a spokesperson with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, declined to comment on details of the case, but says agents are looking into the matter. (The Mercury reports SVSP authorities learned about the plot the week of Nov. 14.)
“We are taking the allegations very seriously, but cannot offer any other information at this time,” Waters says in an email to the Weekly.
Bey was also the former leader of Oakland’s Your Black Muslim Bakery, which was linked to widespread physical and sexual abuse, welfare fraud and murder. He continues to be housed in Salinas Valley State Prison.
It is considered a misdemeanor crime to have or smuggle a cell phone into a prison, according to California law. Staff, contractors and visitors who use cell phones within the facility can be fined up to $5,000 per device or jailed for six months.