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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of West Virginia

Monday, September 28, 2020

Operation Free Market Update: Michigan Man Sentenced to Prison for Federal Drug Crime

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A Michigan man was sentenced today to 42 months in prison for a federal drug crime, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  Gary Jerome Johnson, also known as “Sosa”, 29, previously pled guilty to possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl.

“Michigan football legend Bo Schembechler used to refer to what he called “A Michigan Man.”  He was definitely not referring to fentanyl dealers from Michigan,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “Johnson, already wanted by law enforcement authorities in Michigan, was found in Huntington with 16 grams of fentanyl that he had every intention of selling.  Now he will be going to federal prison with the many other fentanyl dealers we have convicted.”

Johnson previously admitted that on May 2, 2019, he was a passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over for a traffic stop in Huntington.  After learning that Johnson was wanted out of Michigan for absconding from parole, he was placed under arrest and taken to the West Virginia State Police detachment in Huntington for processing.  The Trooper found approximately 16 grams of fentanyl in his cruiser.  Johnson admitted he intended to sell the controlled substance.

Operation Free Market was a long-term drug investigation in the Huntington area.  The investigation was the result of a joint effort by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Violent Crime and Drug Task Force West.  

United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers imposed the sentence.  Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie S. Taylor handled the prosecution.

The case was prosecuted as part of Operation Synthetic Opioid Surge (S.O.S.), an enforcement surge that seeks to reduce the supply of deadly synthetic opioids in high impact areas.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:19-cr-00204.


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Drug Trafficking
Updated September 28, 2020