Skip to main content
Press Release

Bradenton Man Pleads Guilty To Distributing Fentanyl Resulting In Death

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces that David Earl Johnson (37, Bradenton) has pleaded guilty to distributing and possessing with the intent to distribute fentanyl resulting in death. He faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 20 years, up to life, in federal prison. Johnson also must pay restitution to the family of the victim.


According to the plea agreement, on January 11, 2017, Johnson distributed fentanyl, which resulted in the death of “K.H.,” who was found unresponsive and later pronounced dead that day from fentanyl intoxication. The investigation into the victim’s death identified Johnson as the Bradenton-based supplier who had sold the fentanyl to the victim.


After Johnson was identified, detectives from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office arranged an undercover purchase of fentanyl from him on the evening of January 11, 2017. During that meeting, Johnson gave eight bags of fentanyl to an undercover detective, and he was arrested.


“The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office will continue to work with all of our partners to ensure that the victims and their surviving family members get justice through our legal system,” said Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells. “We appreciate the hard work of the United States Attorney’s Office to bring this very important case to a successful conclusion.”


This case is the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation dubbed “Hot Batch.” It was investigated by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Baeza.

Updated January 26, 2018