Cocaine In Mail Sends Two Men To Prison

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A Virginia man and a California man are each facing 14 to 23 years in prison on drug charges.

Joe Brown Jr., of Richmond, and Vernon Smith Sr., of California,
were charged after a kilo of cocaine was sent in 2004 to a fake name at a known address in the Martin County town of Williamston.

Brown was sentenced Wednesday in a Martin County courtroom. Along with the prison time, he was fined $500,000. Smith Sr. was also up for sentencing Wednesday morning, but he passed out in the courtroom. A rescue crew was called, and Smith Sr. was taken to the hospital, stabiliized, then brought back to court to receive the same prison time and fine: 14 to 23 years behind bars, a $500,000 fine.

The district attorney's office tells WITN News that following the 2004 delivery in Williamston, investigators tracked down cash sent from Richmond to Los Angeles, then the cocaine trail from Los Angeles to Williamston.

Smith Sr.'s son, Vernon Smith Jr., was arrested in California for mailing the package.

A fourth suspect in this case, from Williamston, pleaded guilty and testified but has not yet been sentenced.

All three suspects have been out on bond since the 2004 arrests. Officials say the case took so long to come to court because the suspects have gone through a slew of attorneys, prompting delays.