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Member of marijuana trafficking organization sentenced for murder in aid of racketeering

BALTIMORE – A Jamaica man was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for murder in aid of racketeering. The victim, a drug courier, was kidnapped and dismembered in a bathtub.

Hubert Downer aka Doc, 52, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles following an investigation 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.

"Today’s sentence of Hubert Downer for murder in aid of racketeering is the culmination of a long-term investigation for HSI special agents, who since 2009 have been investigating the Jean Brown drug trafficking organization, which spanned five states and three countries," said William Winter, special agent in charge of HSI Baltimore. "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. 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 his plea agreement and court documents, Jean Brown and Carl Smith led 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. Downer helped distribute the marijuana for Brown. The conspirators transported as much as 1,000 pounds of marijuana per month from 2000 until Brown’s arrest in 2010.

On Dec. 16, 2009, Brown and Smith met with Michael Knight, another member of the organization, in Maryland. Knight was holding approximately $1 million in drug proceeds for Brown, but when they came to collect the money, approximately $250,000 was missing.

Brown, Smith and Dean Myrie took Knight, bound with a telephone cable, to an apartment in White Marsh, Md. Brown assaulted and interrogated Knight. Subsequently, Brown and Smith got Downer and Peter Blake, another member of the drug organization, to help torture Knight to reveal the location of the money. When Knight did not provide the location of the money, Brown ordered Downer and Blake to kill Knight. Downer and Blake took a large knife into the bathroom where Knight was being held and Blake stabbed him to death in the bathtub with Downer’s help.

Over the next several days, Downer, Brown and Blake cut off Knight’s legs with a power saw and disposed of them in a dumpster. Downer, Blake and Myrie put the remainder of Knight’s body in a large cardboard box and disposed of it in another dumpster.

Brown was sentenced to life in prison after she was convicted by a federal jury at trial of the drug conspiracy, kidnapping and murder in aid of racketeering, and conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering. Myrie pleaded guilty to kidnapping in aid of racketeering and was sentenced to 108 months in prison. Michael Reid and Blake have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy and are awaiting sentencing. Smith was killed in 2010.

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