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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of North Carolina

Friday, January 10, 2020

Fayetteville Man Sentenced to More Than 17 Years for Heroin Distribution

NEW BERN – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announces that United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced ANTHONY GABRIEL JOHNSON, 42, of Fayetteville, NC, today. JOHNSON was sentenced to 212 months imprisonment followed by 5 years of supervised release. 

On July 18, 2018, JOHNSON was named in a two-count Indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin.  On September 4, 2019, JOHNSON pled guilty to those charges.

On April 4, 2018, the Fayetteville Police Department (FPD) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) learned that JOHNSON was selling large quantities of heroin and cocaine from his residence in Fayetteville.  Investigators met with a Confidential Informant (CI) for the purpose of conducting a controlled purchase of an ounce of heroin from JOHNSON.  The CI entered the residence, purchased the heroin from JOHNSON, and returned to the investigator’s vehicle several minutes later.  A subsequent laboratory analysis confirmed the substance as heroin, which weighed approximately 27.86 grams.

Officers set up surveillance of JOHNSON’S residence on May 25, 2018.  From the morning of May 25, 2018, to midnight of May 26, 2018, the investigator observed approximately 25 vehicles arrive and stay at the residence for a short period of time.  On May 29, 2018, via continued surveillance of JOHNSON’S residence, officers observed a vehicle arrive and park in the driveway of the residence.  Several minutes later, the vehicle left the residence and was followed by an unmarked law enforcement vehicle. The driver of the vehicle was pulled over after running a red light.  During the stop, the driver was observed throwing a bag of suspected cocaine from the vehicle.  The individual was found to be in possession of approximately 7.8 grams of powder cocaine packaged in 23 baggies, 8 grams of crack cocaine packaged in 28 baggies, 4.2 grams of heroin, and 125.9 grams of marijuana.

On May 31, 2018, law enforcement executed a search warrant at JOHNSON’S residence and JOHNSON was detained in the living room.  During a search of the exterior of the residence, officers located a crawl space where six sandwich bags containing 169 grams of heroin was found.  Officers also seized $768 currency.  Letters in JOHNSON’S name were located inside the home, along with his cell phone.  The defendant was transported to a police station to be interviewed.

JOHNSON agreed to an interview with investigators. JOHNSON admitted to selling heroin from his current residence and a previous residence in Fayetteville. JOHNSON also acknowledged that he was on state post-release supervision and house arrest while he was selling heroin.  He indicated that he recently received 200 grams of heroin.

Based upon the investigation, JOHNSON is responsible for the possession and/or distribution of 1,055.5 grams of heroin and he maintained a premise where he stored and distributed heroin.

This case is part of the United States Attorney’s Office’s Take Back North Carolina Initiative.  This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices on a sustained basis in those communities to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement.  For additional information about this initiative, click here

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fayetteville Police Department investigated this case.  Assistant United States Attorney Scott A. Lemmon prosecuted this case for the government. 

Updated January 10, 2020