A Yacolt man was sentenced Thursday to five months of jail work release in connection with the alleged kidnapping of a man near Orchards Park in June in a ploy to recover stolen marijuana.
As part of a plea bargain, Frank E. Brown, 28, pleaded guilty March 13 in Clark County Superior Court to unlawful imprisonment and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. In exchange, Deputy Prosecutor Anna Klein dropped charges of second-degree kidnapping and a second count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.
At the request of Brown’s attorney, David Kurtz, Judge Barbara Johnson allowed Brown to serve his time in the jail’s work release program. The program allows inmates to work outside in the community and be confined when they’re not at work. The program will allow Brown to continue his job as an auto mechanic in Battle Ground, where he said he works 50 hours per week.
He apologized Thursday for his actions.
“I apologize for this whole thing,” Brown said.
Freddie Johnson, 18, and Anthony Olsen, age unknown, responded to a Craigslist ad for medical marijuana. Brown and his wife, Valentine P. Brown, met Johnson and Olsen at Orchards Park on June 15 and detained Johnson after Olsen allegedly ran off with two pounds of marijuana from the couple instead of buying it, according to a court affidavit.
Frank Brown grabbed Johnson and ordered him into the couple’s vehicle. Johnson said he complied because Frank Brown’s substantial size intimidated him. Frank Brown is 6-foot-1 and weighs 240 pounds, according to court records.
The couple told Johnson that they would drive him to a nearby waterfall and shoot him in the head if he didn’t convince Olsen to return the marijuana, the court affidavit says.
Valentine Brown, who was a passenger in the vehicle, told Johnson to put a cloth shopping bag over his head.
Frank Brown drove to a residence north of Battle Ground and dropped off his wife, who was then seven months pregnant, placed Johnson into a different vehicle and drove him back to Orchards Park, according to court records.
When Frank Brown saw a police vehicle, he ordered Johnson out of the vehicle, court records say.
Brown told police that Johnson hatched the plan to tell his friend he was in danger of being shot, and that Johnson agreed to play along to persuade his friend to return the marijuana, court records say.
Valentine Brown, 21, pleaded guilty in February to one count of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver for her part in the scheme. She was sentenced to 21 days in jail and 30 days on a work crew.
Kurtz said Thursday that prosecutors agreed to the plea bargain after one of the witnesses in the case moved out of the area, and the other indicated he would not cooperate with them.
“It would have been difficult to prove the allegation (of kidnapping),” Kurtz said.