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Press Release

Three Conspirators Sentenced to Federal Prison for Marijuana Trafficking and Money Laundering

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Florida

PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Three defendants were sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  On November 8, 2017, Sanford Eugene Johnson III, 31, of Pensacola, was sentenced to 151 months in prison.  Yesterday, William Brett Brownell, 26, of Milton, was sentenced to 70 months in prison, and his father, William Ezra Brownell, 60, of Mobile, Alabama, was sentenced to 20 months in prison.  The sentences were announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.


Between 2014 and 2017, Johnson and the Brownells, along with co-defendants Charles Zachariah Sindylek, Brandon Craig Remeyer, David DelGiacco, Andrew Paul Marcelonis, and Steven Ryan Michael Sholly, conspired to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana.  During the same time period, Johnson, the Brownells, Sindylek, Remeyer, DelGiacco, and Marcelonis conspired to launder the proceeds of their drug conspiracy through cash deposits and withdrawals at financial institutions for the purpose of promoting and concealing the drug conspiracy.  More than $3.5 million in cash proceeds from the sale of marijuana was laundered during the time frame of the conspiracy.


The remaining defendants are awaiting sentencing on the following dates at the U.S. Courthouse in Pensacola:

  • Remeyer: December 12, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. CST;
  • Sindylek: December 19, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. CST;
  • Marcelonis: December 19, 2017, at 2:30 p.m. CST;
  • Sholly: January 16, 2018, at 10:30 a.m. CST; and
  • DelGiacco: January 16, 2018, at 2:30 p.m. CST.


This case resulted from an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the Pensacola Police Department, the Mobile Police Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, and the Gulf Breeze Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Alicia H. Forbes is prosecuting the case.


The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.  To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website.  For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit


For more information, contact:
Amy Alexander, Public Information Officer

Updated December 1, 2017

Drug Trafficking
Financial Fraud