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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 23, 2021

Cocaine Supplier Pleads Guilty and is Sentenced to Eight Years in Federal Prison for Participating in Conspiracy to Sell Cocaine and Crack Cocaine in Maryland

Picked up on Wiretap of Drug Conspiracy, Elton-based Drug Dealer Bought and Sold Large Quantities of Narcotics

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Kevin Purnell Johnson, age 36, of Elkton, Maryland, to eight years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, after Johnson pleaded guilty to the federal charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.     

The guilty plea and sentence were announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Special Agent in Charge James R. Mancuso of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Superintendent Colonel Woodrow W. Jones III of the Maryland State Police; and Cecil County Sheriff Scott Adams.

According to his guilty plea, the Maryland State Police, Cecil County Sheriff’s Office, and the Department of Homeland Security identified Troy Neal, Mark Williams, and Johnson as cocaine suppliers after an extended investigation dating back to 2019.  The conspiracy members distributed crack cocaine to multiple customers in Elkton, Maryland.

During the investigation, the Cecil County Circuit Court issued an order to authorize the interception of wire and electronic communications of Johnson and his co-conspirators.  Intercepted text and telephone communications revealed Johnson as a member of the drug distribution conspiracy.

Law enforcement captured at least eight instances in which Johnson and his co-conspirators conversed in coded conversations about drug activity. For example, on May 5, 2020, Johnson discussed the purchase of a half-kilogram of cocaine for $17,000 to $17,500. Within the conversation, Johnson told the individual that he wanted it “soft”, which investigators knew to be powder cocaine.

On May 18, 2020, police surveilled Johnson meet with an individual in the parking lot of a local hotel. Patrol officers conducted a traffic stop on the customer’s car shortly after the transaction and recovered 29.3 grams of crack cocaine and $1,500 in cash.

As stated in his plea agreement, on June 13, 2020 law enforcement covertly observed Neal, Williams, and Johnson depart from Neal’s residence and travel to the Bronx in New York, where investigators believe that Neal, Williams, and Johnson obtained cocaine.  The next day, on June 14, 2020, law enforcement observed the three men travel back to Neal’s residence.  Law enforcement executed a search warrant at Neal’s residence and recovered 497 grams of compressed suspected cocaine, several bags of suspected marijuana, a digital scale, and several cell phones.

Other evidence corroborates Johnson’s involvement in drug trafficking. According to the IRS, Johnson did not file tax returns in 2017, 2018, or 2019 and had no taxable income.

Co-conspirators Mark Williams and Troy Lee Neal pled guilty to the same charges and are scheduled to be sentenced on October 5, 2021 at 11 a.m. and October 26, 2021 at 11 a.m.; respectively.  

Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended HSI, the Maryland State Police, and the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sandra Wilkinson and Kim Y. Oldham, who prosecuted the case.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Marcia Murphy (410) 209-4885
Updated August 23, 2021