ORLANDO, Fla. – A federal grand jury found an Orlando man guilty Friday of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana. The conviction resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation.
Lavell Dashan Brown, 39, of Orlando, faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.
According to evidence presented at trial, Brown participated in a drug trafficking organization that used the U.S. Postal Service to distribute high grade (hydroponic) marijuana that typically sells for more than $5,000 a pound, from northern California to central Florida. As part of the conspiracy, Chi Tam Dang, aka "Tam Dang," 31, of San Leandro, Calif., and others mailed marijuana parcels from northern California to addresses located throughout the United States, including central Florida. Brown received the marijuana parcels in Orlando and delivered them to another member of the organization. In total, special agents have identified more than 140 marijuana parcels that were mailed from northern California to central Florida. They have also determined that the organization sent more than $1.3 million in drug proceeds from central Florida back to Dang and others in northern California.
To date, 10 individuals, including Brown, have been charged as part of this investigation. Eight pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana. Those individuals include: Dang; Arlonzo W. Moore, 30, of Orlando; Angelica Maria Jimenez, aka "Angie Jimenez," 22, of Orlando; Jason Jesus Marrero, 32, of Orlando; Justin W. Young, 27, of Ocoee, Fla.; Thomas James McMath, 30, of Winter Garden, Fla.; Doren Fiddler, 29, of Orlando; and Iris Carrion, 27, of Orlando. Young and McMath have each been sentenced to six months of home detention and two years of probation. The others are awaiting sentencing.
Valerie Joseph, 27, of Orlando, was indicted on Sept. 28 and is scheduled for trial in March. If convicted, Joseph faces a minimum of 5 years and up to 40 years in federal prison.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.