News and Press Releases

Drug Felon Facing Life Sentenced For Selling Heroin

January 12, 2012

Contact: Peter Deegan

A Waterloo man who was part of a drug conspiracy was convicted by a jury today after a 3-day trial in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Lawrence Johnson, 38, from Waterloo, Iowa, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin; one count of distribution of heroin; one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin; one count of possession of a firearm during a drug crime; and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The verdicts were returned this afternoon following about five hours of jury deliberations.

The evidence at trial showed that Johnson conspired with others to sell at least one kilogram of heroin from 2007 through April 2011. Johnson made trips to Chicago to purchase heroin and re-sold it in the Waterloo area. On one occasion, Johnson sold heroin to a confidential informant while under police surveillance. Johnson’s residence was searched on February 15, 2011, and officers recovered additional heroin packaged for distribution, along with a handgun. The evidence showed that Johnson used the handgun for protection during his drug trafficking.

Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Johnson remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing. Johnson faces a mandatory life sentence without parole on the conspiracy conviction. He also faces a maximum fine of up to $22.5 million dollars, and $500 in special assessments.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patrick J. Reinert and Special Assistant United States Attorney Justin Lightfoot and was investigated by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program of the United States Department of Justice through a cooperative effort of the Oelwein Police Department, Tri-County Drug Task Force, Cedar Rapids DEA Task Force, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Internal Revenue Service, and Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Tri-County Drug Task Force is composed of the Waterloo Police Department, Cedar Falls Police Department, Waverly Police Department, Bremer County Sheriff’s Office, Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office, LaPorte City Police Department, Evansdale Police Department, Hudson Police

Department, and Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Cedar Rapids Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force consists of the DEA; Linn County Sheriff's Office; Cedar Rapids Police Department; Marion Police Department; Iowa City Police Department; Clinton Police Department; Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services; and Iowa National Guard.

Court file information is available at The case file number is 11-2025 (8).



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