William “Fruit” Johnson Jr. pleaded guilty on Tuesday to trafficking fentanyl and heroin in Dayton and will serve seven years in prison, if a federal judge accepts a plea deal.
Johnson, 34, pleaded guilty by bill of information to one count of conspiracy to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin and more than 40 grams of fentanyl — an opiate 50 to 100 times more powerful than heroin that led to hundreds of Ohio deaths in recent years.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rose found Johnson guilty and set Johnson’s sentencing for Oct. 19. Rose also ordered a pre-sentence investigation. The minimum sentence Johnson could receive is five years and the maximum is 40 years.
Defense attorney Nicholas Gounaris calculated Johnson’s non-binding sentencing range at 100 to 125 months. Wearing blue Montgomery County Jail clothes, Johnson said, “Guilty” when asked for his plea. The stipulated sentence agreed to between prosecutors and defense attorneys is seven years.
The criminal complaint filed in Dayton’s U.S. District Court detailing the allegations against Johnson remains sealed nearly two years after it was filed. Johnson’s case is related to that of Levar Stinson, who was sentenced in November 2015 to 10 years in prison.
In late 2014, federal authorities offered a reward of $2,500 for information that led to Johnson’s arrest.
“He should be considered armed and dangerous,” said an October 2014 press release from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Johnson turned himself in and was originally arraigned March 17.
From January to June 2014, fentanyl was linked to 110 deaths in the Dayton area.
The statement of facts read Tuesday by assistant U.S. attorney Sheila Lafferty said that between August 2014 and October 7, 2014, Johnson oversaw the selling of cocaine and fentanyl from an associate to a confidential informant.
Lafferty said a search of two properties yielded more drugs, guns and about $136,000 in cash.
A motion to seal the allegations from public view said, in part, “that the disclosure of certain information and statements contained in said documents would hamper an ongoing criminal investigation.”
Two defendants in a different fentanyl-related case, Charles M. McBeath and Antonio Spiva, are scheduled to go on trial Aug. 15. They have been indicted for distributing heroin and fentanyl that led to the death of two people.
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