Richland County’s former recreation director pleaded guilty to federal drug charges Thursday.
James Anthony Brown, 39, faces at least five years in federal prison and possibly 40 years, prosecutors said in announcing that Brown admitted his guilt on charges that he planned to distribute methamphetamine. Brown is the son of the county recreation commission’s ex-leader.
Brown was a $70,000-a-year director of recreation at the agency his father, James Brown III, once ran.
Richland County deputies stopped the son on May 27, 2016, after they saw him picking up a package on the front porch of a Columbia residence, federal prosecutors said in a news release. The package was addressed to Brown, and officers — alerted by a tip — were watching for who picked it up, authorities said.
The package held just short of 12 pounds of marijuana. A search of Brown’s home turned up another package, also addressed to him, that had almost 12.5 ounces of methamphetamine, authorities said.
In addition, the search found more marijuana, ecstasy, drug paraphernalia and an AK-47 assault rifle.
A sentencing date has not been set, but normally it occurs about two months after a guilty plea, said Will Lewis, one of the prosecutors on the case.
James Brown III, who retired as the commission’s director, has been charged with misconduct in office as well as with threatening a witness. The father also has been accused in lawsuits of sexual harassment of several employees.