A former player for the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns has been arrested and charged by the federal government for having about 157 pounds of Marijuana in a rental car. Gregory Robinson, 27 years old, was an offensive tackle and recent member of the Cleveland Browns roster. He was the highly anticipated number two overall draft pick in 2014 when he entered the league. Another man, Jaquan Bray, who was in the same car with Robinson and also arrested played on special teams for the Indianapolis Colts for a few years. 

The incident began when Robinson rented a car in Los Angeles. He paid to have an Uber driver he knew take him and another male suspect to Louisiana. The three then went to El Paso near the border on Monday afternoon. There are multiple federal inspection points at the border area in the Sierra Blanca area on Interstate 10. One of the canine units in the second inspection area indicated that the vehicle needed to be parked and checked. The arrest report says that several agents began to search the vehicle at this time. They uncovered approximately 157 pounds of marijuana in multiple duffle bags that were placed in the rear of the vehicle. 

After the arrest, a Department of Justice spokesperson released the names of the suspects to the media and confirmed two of them are NFL players. The Uber driver claims that he did not know about the marijuana in the car, and that he would not have driven and avoided the situation if knew about the drugs. 

Robinson and one of the other suspects could spend 20 years in federal prison if they receive the maximum sentence. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas has charged them with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and conspiracy to possess marijuana with the intent to distribute. The DEA is also involved in the investigation and collection of evidence. The DOJ press release, dated February 19th, also includes a reminder that there are only criminal charges at this point and no one has been convicted yet. Robinson is still entitled to a defense and all other procedural rights given to criminal defendants.  

Robinson’s NFL career was generally considered to be a disappointment. After playing football at Auburn University, he had short stints with the St. Louis Rams, Detroit Lions, and Browns before his contract ended in 2019. He failed to live up to the expectations associated with such a high draft pick, and it was assumed that the Browns would not resign him for the upcoming season. However, Robinson did earn close to $30 million over the course of his NFL career.  

Drug trafficking crimes

Any crimes that involve moving narcotics between state or international borders are prosecuted by the federal government. These crimes have much more severe sentences than mere possession, especially if large amounts are involved as in this news story. It is common for those who are prosecuted to face decades of prison time for trafficking several pounds of drugs.

The conviction rate is also higher in federal court than state court, meaning a defense is more difficult and it is likely that defendants will end up accepting a plea deal. 

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