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Justice News

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

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Washington man sentenced to 10 years in prison for heroin possession

GREAT FALLS – Washington resident Christopher Craig Johnson, 36, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison and three years of supervised release today for his conviction of possessing heroin for distribution.

U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided at the hearing.

Johnson pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute heroin.

Law enforcement officers arrested Johnson after a car crash in July 2015 in Great Falls in which Johnson and another person fled the scene. A passenger at the scene told officers that the vehicle belonged to Johnson, that he had brought methamphetamine and heroin from Washington on the trip and had the drugs when they arrived in Great Falls. Johnson had sold some of the meth in town and had planned to go to Browning to distribute drugs but got into the crash.

Further investigation led to Johnson’s arrest. A search warrant led to the seizure of meth and a small amount of heroin from his Great Falls residence. Law enforcement officers then executed a search warrant on Johnson’s wrecked vehicle and seized heroin. A Drug Enforcement Administration lab determined the drugs seized totaled 82.8 grams of pure meth and 18.17 grams of heroin.

In a sentencing memo, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Betley said Johnson was a serious danger to the community and that he had at least 10 prior felony convictions, including holding up individuals at gunpoint during a robbery and drug distribution and possession offenses.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Betley prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Russell Country Drug Task Force.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement to identify those responsible for significant violent crime in Montana.  A centerpiece of this effort is Project Safe Neighborhoods, a recently reinvigorated Department of Justice program that has proven to be successful in reducing violent crime.  Today’s sentencing is part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program.


Project Safe Neighborhoods
Clair Johnson Howard Public Information Officer (406) 247-4623
Updated November 8, 2018