Charleston, South Carolina --- Acting U.S. Attorney M. Rhett DeHart announced today that Lamar Louis Johnson, a/k/a “McJag,” 39, of Mount Pleasant, was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison for his role in suppling cocaine to a drug trafficking organization that operated in the Dorchester Terrace neighborhood of North Charleston.
The evidence presented at the sentencing hearing showed that Johnson distributed dozens of kilograms of cocaine in the Charleston area since 2019. His sentence was enhanced based on his leadership role in the organization, his possession of firearms at the time of his arrest, and his significant criminal history which included more than seventeen prior convictions for various narcotics offenses and violent crimes.
“The North Charleston Police Department is appreciative of the work of the United States Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners, which assisted in the lengthy investigation, successful prosecution of the cases developed, and fair sentencing of the defendant,” stated Chief of Police Reggie Burgess of the North Charleston Police Department. “One of the themes of the North Charleston Police Department is to create safer neighborhoods for our citizens and the sentence of this offender assists us in our mission.”
Johnson was one of twelve defendants charged in July 2019 during the first wave of Operation Lowcountry Line, a joint federal, state, and local multi-year investigation quarterbacked by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with assistance from the North Charleston Police Department, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, Charleston Police Department, Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, Mount Pleasant Police Department, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), Ninth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, Charleston County Aviation Authority, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
According to the fifty-count superseding indictment, the case targeted members of a street gang who obtained bulk supplies of heroin, cocaine, and other narcotics from interstate sources of supply and then redistributed the drugs to street-level drug dealers in the greater Charleston area. The superseding indictment also asserted that gang members and associates threatened violence and used firearms to defend themselves and their criminal enterprise from rival drug dealers and gang members.
Another twelve defendants were charged in a second-round indictment in mid-2020. To date, twenty-two of the twenty-four defendants, including Johnson, have pled guilty.
U.S. District Judge David Norton sentenced Johnson to 324 months in federal prison, to be followed by a five-year term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system.
Assistant United States Attorney Everett McMillian, lead attorney of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), is prosecuting the case. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.