Russell Brothers indicted on federal weapons, obstruction charges

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 5:15pm

Russell Brothers Jr., of Burns, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Nashville Wednesday, in a five-count indictment charging him with being a felon in unlawful possession of 16 firearms and two separate attempts to obstruct justice.

According to the indictment, in April 2012, Brothers illegally possessed a number of firearms, including rifles, shotguns and handguns. Due to prior felony convictions for drug trafficking and money laundering Brothers wasn’t allowed to be in possession of such weapons.

Brothers, 75, has had previous brushes with the law. In the 1990's he was convicted of drug smuggling and money laundering, once allegedly stole a friend’s plane and held it for ransom, and most recently crash-landed a vintage 1961 Beechcraft twin-engine plane at the closed Cornelia Fort Airpark on a return flight from Miami but left without reporting it.

The indictment also alleges that Brothers obstructed justice in two ways.

Brothers allegedly provided another individual with a false version of events related to the investigation in order to influence testimony. Later, Brothers allegedly attempted to hide one of the guns from federal investigators.

If convicted on the firearms charge, Brothers faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count. If convicted of obstructing justice, Brothers faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Federal Aviation Administration joined in the investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney Alex Little is representing the government.

10 Comments on this post:

By: Jughead on 3/6/13 at 4:19

You KNOW there was something in that plane.

By: Rasputin72 on 3/6/13 at 4:39

I have known Russell since he was 17 years old. He was extremely bright a gifted athlete an M BA graduate and easily accepted into Vanderbilt University.

No one I ever knew loved a thrill more than Russell. I never knew him to be a bully or forthat matter profanity or individual dishonesty against anyone I ever knew.

His love of a thrill and events associated with the thrill have led him into the nightmare that he has created for himself.

I hope this latest debacle is not his life curtain call.

By: wataboutbob on 3/6/13 at 4:42

After the plane incident his defenders made him out to be another Mr. Rogers.
How about a convicted felon with an arsenal of weapons?!?

By: treehugger7 on 3/7/13 at 7:51

He was always good for a bump-anywhere, any time. Between this and the ultrasound article takes me back to the good old days when the democrats ran things, and the state was much saner.

By: C.A.Jones on 3/7/13 at 10:25

Useless tax on the court systems. Off with his head!

By: murdog on 3/7/13 at 12:35

I have known Russel Brothers all my life and he has been a very close and dear friend of my family his whole life as my father and him grew up together and went to MBA. Russel is a true larger than life figure that possesses a rare charisma coupled with fearlessness and a love of thrill seeking and pushing the envelope of society and living on the edge. His life would make an incredible movie and the people that really know him will attest to these facts. He is without a doubt the most skilled pilot that I have ever known and when he had some financial difficulties in the eighties he was approached by people who were involved with the Colombian Cartels because of his skills as a pilot and he ended up getting convicted and he went to federal prison and served his debt to society. Ever since he got out of prison the Federal Prosecutors office has been gunning for him so they could make an example out of him and when he landed the Antique Beechcraft (that he flew loads of aid to Haiti in for the Catholic Charities of Tennessee) at Cornelia Airport in the dark because his landing gear wouldn't extend it gave the Feds their opening to harass a 75 year old man that they have wanted to make an example of for many years. Everyone makes mistakes and I for one know that he has had no involvement with drugs and they tore that plane apart trying to find something on him and if there was anything believe me they would have used it against him. I will stand by him because he has always been a friend and a man of honor to those who know him and I am glad to have know such a rare personality as Russell Brothers. There will never be another like him. I admit that he gave them the opening that they were looking for but Russell couldn't help himself and fly because that what he is best at and anyone that thinks Russell will not fly is fooling themselves. Make no mistake, what he did was wrong, but this is about a vendetta in the Federal Prosecutors office that goes back to the eighties and sadly he will spend the last years of his life fighting for his freedom and federal prosecutor should really find better uses for the resources of that office instead of making an example of a 75 year old man. This is very similar to what happened to Popcorn Sutton the legendary moonshiner in East Tennessee who took his life rather than let the Feds send him back to prison. I for one will always be proud to say that Russell Brothers is my friend and he taught me and countless people how to be better pilots and so much more.

By: Jughead on 3/7/13 at 1:23

Murdog sucks eggs. This creep is a career criminal who has no regard for the Rule of Law. And, mudoggy, what does your pathetic azz say about all the folks whose lives were ruined by the drugs this criminal provided to society?

And--I do not believe for a MINUTE that there was not contraband on that plane. NOBODY---especially a skilled pilot---crash lands, walks away, and does not report it.

By: wasaw on 3/7/13 at 2:32

Murdog, you wrote concerning a LONG vendetta cocerning Brothers from the U.S. Attorney's office. You do know that Brothers was convicted, don't you? Why would the federal attorneys waste their time on a vendetta towards a low level common criminal, such as Russell Brothers? They have way to much on their hands with much more important high level criminals.

As you wrote, Brothers opened the door for investigators when he failed to report the landing at Cornelia Fort airport. Did you really think the federal investigators were going to close their eyes and ignore him? I suppose that we should all turn our heads and ignore the fact that he is a federal felon in possession of weapons.

Your president, Murdog, is concerned about the number of weapons out in the public. My concern is the number of weapons in the possession of criminals, like Russell Brothers.

By: ancienthighway on 3/7/13 at 3:40

I didn't realize there was a Saint living right here in Tennessee.

Isn't this guy one of the bad guys I'm suppose to protect myself from with a gun? And yet there are posts glamorizing this criminal. Then there are the other criminals that are vilified. Curious indeed.

By: Leazee on 3/7/13 at 3:54

I am always amused with the MBA men.. .or should I say boys. They will circle the wagons and justify dysfunction at every turn because they are better than most. They are not criminals. They are honorable men who simply make mistakes, Drug and gun running? A love for high risk activities! Paying checks to 22 young men to entice them to come to the school for football? Simply helping the underprivileged. No one can spin a story like an MBA boy. Russell Brothers brought down others with him and is not an honorable man. I know the family as well. Perhaps it would have helped if those who know him well had stopped the enabling; living at the feet of one of their athletes.