THE INVESTIGATORS: Member of WBR Chamber leadership team on leave after being arrested on drug charges at US-Mexico border

Leader at WBR Chamber of Commerce on leave after being arrested at US-Mexico border

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A member of the leadership team for the West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce is on a leave of absence from the organization after being arrested at the U.S.–Mexico border on drug charges Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020.

Marie Brand was busted at the border while attempting to come back into the U.S. from Mexico. She was arrested for allegedly smuggling a highly addictive narcotic back into Texas.

According to arrest records the 9News Investigators requested from the arresting agency, deputies with the Hidalgo County Constable’s Office caught her with a purse full of pills. The report alleges she lined her purse with more than 500 grams of Tramadol, which totaled approximately 1,564 pills.

The report states that Brand did not verbally declare the pills when she got to the checkpoint to reenter the country and when officers searched her car, they found two bottles of the pills as well as other pills stuffed in the lining of her purse in small plastic bags. When asked about the drugs, Brand told officers she drove to Mexico to pick up the pills for her hip and that she wanted to get enough for a year. She was charged with possession of schedule III narcotics and got out of jail the next day on a $15,000 bond.

Brand works for the West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce. She’s listed on their website as the events and operations coordinator. WAFB also found out she worked at the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office for about two years from 2016 to 2018 as a resource coordinator in the re-entry program which helps former inmates transition back into society.

The West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce released the following statement to WAFB when asked about the arrest.

“Ms. Brand is on a leave of absence while the personnel committee gathers all pertinent information. The West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce has no further comment at this time.”

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter did reach out to Ms. Brand for comment on her arrest and to clarify any of the crimes she’s accused of committing. While she did not offer any comment on the arrest, she did ask that WAFB not air the report.

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