Salem man sentenced to more than 12 years for drug trafficking

(Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A U.S. district court judge Thursday sentenced a Salem man to 12 and a half years in federal prison on drug trafficking charges.

Chase Benjamin Russell-Brown, 31, was also sentenced to four years of supervised release.

Salem Police Department officers on Nov. 5, 2019, were surveilling a Salem hotel “known for frequent drug activity” when they saw a man they identified as Russell-Brown, who they knew had been twice arrested for drug trafficking in the past two months, according to a sentencing memorandum dated July 19, 2021.

He exited the hotel carrying a bag and left it in a vehicle with expired registration, which officers tried to pull him over for, the memorandum said. Russell-Brown didn’t stop and continued driving for about a quarter mile as other drivers pulled to the side of the road, eventually driving into a busy grocery store parking lot.

An officer blocked the parking aisle, forcing him to stop, and officers in the car behind Russell-Brown got out to approach him. As they did, he put his car in reverse, accelerated and rammed the patrol car behind him.

The officer in front of him drove forward and made contact with this car, pinning it between the two patrol cars. As officers approached his car, he continued accelerating, according to the memorandum.

Officers broke the window of his car to get to Russell-Brown and detained him – finding a Smith and Wesson 9mm handgun in his waistband and a Raven arms .25 automatic handgun in his jacket pocket, both loaded.

They searched his vehicle and found a backpack in the front passenger seat that had about 89 grams of methamphetamine, 25.4 grams of heroin, packaging material, magazines and ammunition, the memorandum said.

Russell-Brown had previously been arrested in September 2019 when he was found to be possessing 205 grams of methamphetamine and admitted to selling drugs. He was also arrested in October 2019 and found to be possessing about 85.8 grams of meth.

A total 379.8 grams of meth were seized from him over the three arrests. At the time of the third, he had a prior felony conviction for second-degree robbery for which he was sentenced to three years and ten months in state prison.

On Nov. 21, 2019, a federal grand jury in Portland indicted Russell-Brown on charges of possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine and heroin, using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, and possessing a firearm as a felon.

He pleaded guilty Sept. 16, 2020 to possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possessing a firearm as a felon, court documents showed.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian