Suitland Man Exiled to 18 Years in Prison on Federal Gun and Drug Charges from Maryland and Virginia

Assaulted Police Officer and Pointed Loaded Gun

November 22, 2011

Greenbelt, Maryland - Chief U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow sentenced James Orlando Johnson, a/k/a “James Armond Johnson,” “James Armand Johnson,” and “James Omar Johnson,” age 29, of Suitland, Maryland, today to 18 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for two counts of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine; using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime; and possession of a firearm by a felon.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; the United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia Timothy J. Heaphy; Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Chait of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks; Winchester, Virginia Commonwealth Attorney Alexander R. Iden; Winchester Police Chief Kevin Sanzenbacher; and Chief Mark A. Magaw of the Prince George’s County Police Department.

“Today’s sentencing demonstrates how serious and determined ATF and our law enforcement partners are in bringing violent criminals to justice,” says ATF Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Chait. “We are grateful that the officer was not injured as a result of this criminal’s conduct, and the details surrounding these investigations clearly demonstrate that we are targeting violent repeat offenders.”

According to Johnson’s plea agreement, on July 20, 2006, in Suitland, Maryland, two officers of the Prince George’s County Police Department saw Johnson and the driver of a gray van engaging in what they believed to be a drug transaction, with the driver handing Johnson cash. As the officers approached, Johnson placed the plastic bag that he had been holding into his pants pocket and walked away while reaching for a firearm in his waistband. When one officer informed Johnson that he was going to pat him down for weapons, Johnson elbowed the officer in the chest and ran away. During the ensuing foot chase Johnson pointed a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol at the pursuing officer. The officer drew his own firearm, and Johnson threw his gun away and continued running. Johnson was subsequently arrested and his gun was recovered with the safety in the “off” position, loaded with 15 rounds of ammunition in the magazine and one round in the chamber. Johnson was searched and law enforcement recovered: a second magazine for Johnson’s firearm, also loaded with 15 rounds of ammunition; a plastic bag containing 5.06 grams of crack cocaine; another plastic bag containing approximately one gram of marijuana; and over $800 cash.

On August 3, 2010, while on pretrial release from the February 2009 federal indictment for gun and drug violations related to the above conduct, Johnson was pulled over by police in Winchester, Virginia. Johnson was found in possession of: a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol, loaded with eight rounds of ammunition; a box containing 16 rounds of ammunition; a plastic bag containing 17.097 grams of crack cocaine; and a digital scale. Johnson subsequently signed an affidavit admitting that the crack cocaine and the firearm belonged to him.

United States Attorneys Rod J. Rosenstein and Timothy J. Heaphy commended the ATF, Prince George’s County Police Department, Winchester Police Department; Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office; and the Winchester County Virginia Commonwealth Attorney’s Office for their work in this investigation and prosecution. U.S. Attorneys Rosenstein and Heaphy thanked Assistant United States Attorney Robert K. Hur of the District of Maryland and Assistant United States Attorney Grayson Hoffman and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Caccamo of the Western District of Virginia, who prosecuted the case.

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