Man who drove off at checkpoint with $90K of pot pleads guilty, faces 5-40 years
A marijuana smuggler from Houston has pleaded guilty to speeding away from the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 35, according to court documents.
Christopher Sedrick Brown, 47, entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said on Friday. The marijuana weighed 291.6 pounds and had an estimated street value of $90,000.
Brown will remain in custody pending his sentencing. He faces a punishment of five to up to 40 years in federal prison. U.S. Customs and Border Protection conducted the investigation with assistance of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorney Francisco J. Rodriguez is prosecuting the case.
Brown arrived at the checkpoint at about 9:45 p.m. April 20 in a semi-tractor. A K-9 unit then allegedly alerted agents to possible contraband within the vehicle. Brown allegedly allowed an agent to look inside the cab. The agent detected a strong odor of marijuana and referred Brown to secondary inspection, states the arrest affidavit.
But Brown ignored the instruction and drove off from the checkpoint. Agents said that Brown was driving erratically and traveling at 94 mph, according to court documents. A DPS trooper then located the tractor-trailer near mile marker 45 of I-35 North.
Records state the trooper tried to pull over the tractor-trailer for not having reflective tape on its right mud flap. Brown did not stop, and a pursuit ensued, the affidavit states. He exited I-35 on exit 47 and drove on the east frontage road, reaching speeds of 110 mph. Brown eventually stopped on mile marker 59 in La Salle County after crashing into the thick brush, according to prosecutors.
A DPS criminal investigator located Brown walking on the I-35 frontage road and arrested him. A search of the cab yielded eight marijuana bundles.