The three were not actually crossing the border, but traveling from Los Angeles to Louisiana, according to a summary of a criminal complaint released Monday by the Department of Justice. The third man, as yet unidentified, was described as an Uber driver Robinson first met in 2018 and hired to take him and Bray to Louisiana, Robinson’s home state, in a rented Chevy Tahoe.
They were traveling along a remote stretch of highway in West Texas when they entered the primary inspection area of a checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, Tex., according to ESPN. There, a drug-sniffing dog detected the scent of marijuana. A Border Patrol agent radioed ahead to colleagues, and the three men were detained.
In addition to several large duffel bags containing the marijuana in vacuum-sealed bags, agents found 23 Mason jars and an electronic scale, as well as $3,100 in cash being carried by Bray.
According to the summary, Robinson and Bray have been charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. The Uber driver was not charged, after he showed authorities text messages in which Robinson offered to pay him to claim ownership of the drugs and in which he said he would not have gone on the journey had he known the drugs were in the vehicle.
The Uber driver, who was told to let Bray drive as they approached El Paso, also told authorities that the two football players were very nervous at that point, having had a close call earlier with a police officer who pulled over a nearby vehicle for speeding.
While Robinson was in custody, per an affidavit filed with the complaint, his phone received several text messages from a contact listed as “Grow House Indoor.” Both Bray and Robinson were being held at the El Paso County Detention Facility without bond, according to the AP, pending a hearing before a U.S. federal magistrate judge.
Robinson, 27, was drafted second overall in 2014 by the St. Louis Rams but struggled to stand out. He was traded to the Detroit Lions in 2017 for a sixth-round pick and spent the past two seasons with the Browns, who reportedly told Robinson recently that they planned on letting him test free agency next month.
Bray, 26, was a teammate of Robinson’s at Auburn who went undrafted in 2015 but latched on as a wide receiver with the Indianapolis Colts for three seasons. He had a brief stint with the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football last year before signing with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.
The news regarding Robinson was reminiscent of two arrests in 2001 of former NFL offensive lineman Nate Newton, who was caught with 213 pounds and then 175 pounds of marijuana, in incidents roughly five weeks apart. He served approximately two and a half years in prison before being released in 2004.
Newton said in 2005 that his “competitive” nature led him to traffic in such large quantities of marijuana. “I couldn’t see myself not being the biggest dope man,” he said, claiming that another lure was the opportunity to make around $75,000 per drug deal.
Robinson’s one-year contract last season with the Browns paid him $6.4 million (per Spotrac), and he has made nearly $30 million in salaries over his six-year NFL career.