Felon Sentenced to 12½ Years in Prison for Drug and Gun Law Violations

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PITTSBURGH, PA — A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to 12½ years (152 months) of imprisonment on his conviction of federal narcotics and firearms violations, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced.

Chief United States District Judge Mark Hornack imposed the sentence Wednesday, September 21, 2022, on James W. Johnson, age 37, formerly of the City’s Glen Hazel section.

According to information presented to the court and at the trial, on Dec. 30, 2016, Johnson was observed by Pittsburgh Bureau of Police officers selling fentanyl to an individual out of an abandoned residence on Renova Street in the Hazelwood section of Pittsburgh. Johnson is associated with the Hazelwood Mob gang that operates in that area. The law enforcement officers stopped the purchaser after the sale and recovered the purchased drugs. The individual identified the defendant as the seller of those drugs. Based on that information and other evidence, law enforcement obtained a search warrant for the abandoned Renova Street residence, which was executed on Jan. 2, 2017. When law enforcement executed the search warrant, they encountered the defendant leaving the abandoned residence and he had a key for the residence and two cellular telephones. A search of the residence revealed distribution quantities of fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine, along with a loaded and stolen handgun, a ballistic vest, and other evidence of drug trafficking. A search of the cellular telephones associated with the defendant revealed communications associated with drug trafficking and communications with the individual who purchased fentanyl on Dec. 30, 2016.

The defendant has a lengthy criminal history, including multiple felony convictions for prior drug trafficking and illegal gun possession. He was therefore precluded for possession of firearms or ammunition under federal law.

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Assistant United States Attorney Brendan T. Conway prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

United States Attorney Chung commended the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Johnson.

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