Brown gets 39 years in fortified drug house case


A Pittsylvania County Circuit Court judge sentenced a 42-year-old Ringgold man to 39 years in the penitentiary with 33 years and seven months suspended on May 23.

Deshawn Runta Brown of Carefree Lane pleaded guilty in March to six felonies: maintaining a fortified drug house, possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, possession of more than five pounds of marijuana with the intent to distribute, possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a firearm while distributing cocaine, and possession of ammunition by a felon.

The charges stemmed from a narcotics investigation and the subsequent search of Brown’s home on May 12, 2016.

According to court papers, authorities discovered the doors of the house to be fortified, which under the Code of Virginia, is “a structure of any kind which is substantially altered from its original status by means of reinforcement with the intent to impede, deter, or delay lawful entry by a law enforcement officer.”

The arrest warrant said that two loaded firearms were found in the house, as well a loaded gun in a BMW vehicle outside the home. Additional ammunition was also at the scene.

Testimony at May 2016 bond hearing indicated that the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office confiscated the BMW.

In an affidavit for a search warrant, Investigator J.V. Sargent of the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office asked that four surveillance cameras mounted on the four corners of the defendant’s home be seized, as well as all recorded video and audio files.

The investigator wrote that surveillance cameras, such as the four seized, were allegedly used by homeowners to monitor all traffic and transactions occurring at a residence.

At the bond hearing, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Molly Burke presented Brown’s criminal history to the judge and said that when arrested Brown told police that he had eluded the police in the past and lived in New York for two years before being picked up.

In denying bail, the judge said, “You can’t get rid of your shadow, Mr. Brown. It follows you around forever.”

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