A New York woman arrested in Augusta while carrying 419 oxycodone tablets in her a purse has pleaded guilty in federal court to being part of 20-person drug conspiracy coordinated by her son.

Robin Brown, 54, was taken into custody by U.S. marshals shortly after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of oxycodone and 500 grams or more of cocaine and one count of possession with intent to distribute a mixture containing oxycodone.

The hearing was held Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Bangor. Brown had been free on bail, but her attorney, Bruce Merrill, said detention is mandatory after a guilty plea to a drug charge.

The drug conspiracy lasted from Jan. 1 through March 17, 2012, according to court documents. A number of those defendants have pleaded guilty, including Brown’s son, Maurice McCray; and some people have been sentenced. Brown will be sentenced later.

Brown was arrested March 17, 2012, after getting off a bus in Augusta. Law enforcement agents learned about her arrival and the drugs she was carrying by listening to phone calls between her and McCray. Brown initially denied having any drugs, but the pills were found inside a McDonald’s bag inside her purse.

Merrill said 240 of those pills were Brown’s own prescription.

According to court filings by the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Casey, Brown helped her son obtain oxycodone that he distributed in Maine.

Casey said Brown knew McCray was deeply in debt to his New York supplier. “The defendant understood that McCray’s life was being threatened by those to whom he owed the money. … Fearing for his safety, she agreed to help him,” Casey wrote.

Initially Brown diverted her own oxycodone prescription, but later used money McCray wired to her to buy drugs from his other suppliers, occasionally carrying those drugs to him in Maine, according to Casey.

Merrill said McCray told his mother his Waterville home was robbed of $60,000 and he owed the drug dealers.   

“Maurice said if she would just help him out by giving him her prescription for oxycodone, he would be able to get the money to pay back the drug dealers,” Merrill said.

Brown had lost another son at age 17 or 18 under similar circumstances, according to Merrill. “He was involved in drug dealing, and it cost him his life,” Merrill said. 

Merrill said Brown had no prior criminal record and was employed in New York City.

Shortly after Brown’s plea, co-defendant Tyrone Pereira, identified in court documents as Brown’s husband, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of oxycodone and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and aiding and abetting.

He was arrested Feb. 17, 2012, in Portland with 344 oxycodone pills on him, according to court documents.

“He also got sucked into this because of Maurice,” Merrill said. “Neither had an idea of the extent of Maurice’s drug dealing.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631
[email protected]

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