SNOW HILL — An Ocean City man, indicted by a Worcester County grand jury last December after a raid at his family business, pleaded guilty this week to possession with intent to distribute marijuana and assault and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, all but 30 days of which was suspended.
Last Dec. 18, allied local law enforcement agencies executed search and seizure warrants at a screen printing and promotional products company in West Ocean City that is owned in part by Matthew John Brown, 35, as well as his wife and mother in-law. As a result, Brown was later indicted by a Worcester County grand jury on multiple drug possession and distribution charges after the investigation revealed he was allegedly dealing marijuana, LSD and PCP out of the West Ocean City business after hours, unbeknownst to his business partners.
A Worcester County grand jury indicted Brown on four counts, the most severe of which was felony possession with intent to distribute LSD and PCP, which carried a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or a $15,000 fine. Brown also faced felony marijuana distribution charges, which carried a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or a $15,000 fine. Brown also faced two misdemeanor charges for possession of LSD, PCP and marijuana.
According to sources, Brown’s wife and mother in-law worked the legitimate West Ocean City apparel business by day, while Brown presumably contributed to the daily operation by working at night. However, after the raid in December it became apparent he wasn’t doing just legitimate company business after hours.
To add insult to injury, Brown was arrested again on Feb. 18 on second-degree assault and false imprisonment charges after attacking his wife at their business and locking her in the office against her will. During preliminary hearings, Brown pleaded not guilty to all charges in both incidents.
On Wednesday, however, Brown pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana and was sentenced to 18 months, all but 30 days of which was then suspended. He was also placed on supervised probation for two years upon his release. The sentence in that case is set to begin on May 20. Also on Wednesday, Brown pleaded guilty to second-degree assault for the Feb. 18 incident and was sentenced to 18 months, all of which was suspended.
In the meantime, Brown’s wife and partner has been left to pick up the pieces for the family business with her mother and young son. During the trial on Wednesday, she read her victim impact statement into the record prior to sentencing.
“Eleven years ago, I never would have imagined I would be living through this nightmare,” she said in the statement. “I question everything I believed in. I trusted him with everything and I have lost everything I have known.”
The victim then turned her attention to Brown with the impact statement.
“I want him to realize what he has ruined and that he needs to get help,” she said in the statement. “I refuse to let this define me, my son or my mother. I want him to be an active part of my son’s life when he is sober and accepts responsibility for his actions.”