Federal Prisoner Indicted For Illegal Contraband And Escape

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PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – William Brett Brownell, 30, of Milton, Florida, was arraigned on charges of possession of contraband by a federal prisoner, introduction of contraband to a federal prison, and escape. The indictment was announced today by Jason R. Coody, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

The indictment alleges that between October 2019 and June 2020, Brownell obtained, possessed, and distributed to fellow prisoners at the Federal Prison Camp in Pensacola various prohibited items, including marijuana, alcohol, cell phones, and tobacco products. Brownell was in the midst of serving a 70-month sentence for marijuana trafficking and money laundering convictions. The indictment also alleges that around approximately the same time frame, Brownell escaped from custody by failing to remain within prison limits.

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Brownell faces up to five years’ imprisonment on each count, and any sentence on the contraband charges must be consecutive to his current prison sentence. Trial for Brownell is scheduled for October 4, 2021, at the United States Courthouse in Pensacola before the Honorable United States District Judge M. Casey Rodgers.

This case resulted from a joint investigation by the Bureau of Prisons Special Investigative Services, the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Eglin Air Force Base 96th Test Wing Legal Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alicia Forbes is prosecuting this case.


An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

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The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.

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