Jury Convicts California Man of Meth Conspiracy
Conspirators Mailed Meth to Columbia to Distribute
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a California man was convicted by a federal trial jury today for his role in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine that was shipped to Columbia, Mo., through the mail.
Dijon Rasheed Brown, 25, of Compton, Calif., was found guilty of participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, of possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute and of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Postal inspectors identified a suspicious parcel on Nov. 6, 2015, that was mailed from California to the residence of co-defendants Zachary Fennell, 39, and Melissa Guerra, 35, of Columbia, which was suspected to contain a controlled substance. Federal agents recovered 444.8 grams of pure methamphetamine, valued at more than $11,000, from the parcel inside a hollowed-out book.
Federal agents executed a controlled delivery of the parcel on Nov. 10, 2015. Officers conducting surveillance of the residence saw two men leave the house at approximately 9:55 a.m. in a white Chevrolet Suburban. The parcel was delivered at 10:04 a.m. and placed next to the front door. A man inside the residence was observed opening and closing the front door of the residence several times, viewing the package through the screen of the storm door.
The white Chevrolet Suburban, which had previously left the residence, was observed driving past the residence at approximately 10:31 a.m., conducting what appeared to be counter-surveillance. After passing the residence one time, the vehicle returned and parked in the driveway of the residence at approximately 10:33 a.m. Brown and the driver got out of the vehicle; Brown took the parcel off the front porch and brought it inside the residence. At approximately 10:36 a.m., Fennell was observed bringing the parcel back outside the residence and placing it next to the front door. Several occupants of the residence were observed sitting near the front porch.
Shortly thereafter federal agents, assisted by the Boone County Sheriff’s Department Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, approached the residence to execute the search warrant. Brown ran to the front door of the residence, opened it, and shut the door behind him. SWAT members were unable to breach the door as it had been reinforced. SWAT members entered at another location and agents saw Brown along with co-defendants Kameron Terrell Howard, 26, and Favbion D. Holmes, 40, both of Compton, Calif., running out the back door of the residence attempting to evade law enforcement. They hopped the backyard fence and continued running into an area of overgrown vegetation. Holmes was apprehended a short distance on the other side of the fence. Howard and Brown were apprehended hiding in a pool shed approximately one-quarter to a half-mile away, after a brief manhunt which resulted in the lockdown of a nearby elementary school. Fennell was apprehended in the front yard of the residence. Guerra was apprehended inside the residence.
Law enforcement officers also located three loaded firearms inside the residence, a small amount of methamphetamine in the freezer and in an upstairs bedroom dresser, and various documents that appeared to be ledgers for narcotics transactions.
Among the firearms found inside the residence was a Hi-Point 9mm handgun, which was located in a bedroom used by Brown. Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Brown has prior felony convictions for robbery and illegally possessing a firearm.
Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Jefferson City, Mo., deliberated for less than two hours before returning the guilty verdicts to U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough, ending a trial that began Monday, Oct. 30, 2017.
Seven co-defendants in this case have pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Additionally, Howard pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison without parole. Calvanisha Yvette West, 27, of California, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year and one day.
Under federal statutes, Brown is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jim Lynn and Ashley S. Turner. It was investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Columbia, Mo., Police Department and the Boone County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.