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Contraband
02/20/2013

Leader of drug trafficking organization convicted of racketeering, kidnapping and murder

Jean Brown faces life in prison for murder tied to the 10-year, multi-state distribution of marijuana

BALTIMORE — A federal jury in Baltimore convicted a Jamaican woman Tuesday for murder in aid of racketeering in connection with a conspiracy to distribute marijuana in five U.S. states and Jamaica, following an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Baltimore County Police Department and the Anne Arundel County Police Department.

Jean Brown, 43, was identified as one of the leaders of the Brown Organization, a criminal organization whose members distributed narcotics in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Arizona, California and Jamaica. Brown's co-defendant Gabriel Campa-Mayen, 45, of Tijuana, Mexico, was acquitted of all charges.

"Today's conviction of Jean Brown for drug conspiracy and kidnapping and murder in aid of racketeering is a victory for HSI special agents, who since 2009 have been investigating the Jean Brown drug trafficking organization, which spanned five states and two countries. HSI special agents have seized approximately 100 pounds of marijuana, $853,000 in cash and bank accounts and six firearms from these co-conspirators, who used intimidation and violence to further their criminal activities," said William Winter, special agent in charge of HSI Baltimore. "HSI will continue working with our law enforcement partners to investigate and ultimately dismantle criminal organizations that are wreaking violence in our communities through the illicit drug trade."

According to evidence presented at their seven-day trial, Jean Brown and Carl Smith - who was killed by one of Brown's co-conspirators - were the leaders of a drug organization that obtained marijuana in Arizona and California and used trucking companies that Brown owned and operated to transport the marijuana to Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York on a monthly basis. The evidence showed that they transported as much as 1,000 pounds of marijuana per month from 2000 until Brown's arrest in 2010.

Brown employed truck drivers and arranged for the distribution of the marijuana on the East Coast, principally in Baltimore and Pittsburgh, used couriers to smuggle the drug proceeds to Jamaica, and sent cash back to the Southwest to pay for the next load.

Witnesses testified that on Dec. 16, 2009, Brown, Smith and additional co-defendants Peter Blake, Hubert Downer and Dean Myrie kidnapped Michael Knight, one of Brown's money couriers. According to trial testimony, Knight was holding $1 million for the organization, but when the money was collected $250,000 was missing. Myrie drove Brown and Knight, who was bound with a telephone cable, and other members of the organization to an apartment in White Marsh, Md., where Brown and others interrogated Knight. After Knight was not able to provide the location of the money, Brown ordered Downer and Blake to kill Knight. Knight was stabbed to death in the bathtub. Over the next few days Brown, Myrie, Downer and Blake dismembered Knight and disposed of his body in dumpsters in the Loch Raven and Liberty Road areas of Baltimore County.

In addition to the murder of Knight, the evidence showed that after threatening Smith on several occasions, in April 2010, Brown offered to pay Campa-Mayen and Leo Alvarez Tostado-Gastellium to murder Smith in Tijuana, Mexico. Witnesses testified that Tostado-Gastellium killed Smith, shooting him in the head. Brown also assaulted a former partner in the drug organization with a baseball bat and a woman and her infant child with boiling water and with a knife.

Brown faces a maximum of life in prison for the drug conspiracy, for kidnapping in aid of racketeering and for murder in aid of racketeering and a maximum of 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering.

Hubert Downer, aka "Doc" and "Michael Reid," 51, of Jamaica; Dean Myrie, aka "Journey," 39, of Jamaica and Peter Blake, 55, of Jamaica have all pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy and are awaiting sentencing. Tostado-Gastellium, aka "Superman," is a fugitive.

This Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stefan D. Cassella and Peter M. Nothstein.