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Press Release

Defendants Convicted of Trafficking Cocaine, Methamphetamine, and Fentanyl Analogue Sentenced to Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Louisiana

LAFAYETTE, La. – United States Attorney Brandon B. Brown announced the sentencing of two men today for drug trafficking in the Lafayette area.

United States District Judge Robert R. Summerhays sentenced James Johnwell, 44, of Crowley, Louisiana, to 71 months in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release for conspiring with other individuals to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine. Johnwell pleaded guilty to the charge on September 19, 2023.

In March and April 2022, agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), investigated the suspected drug trafficking activities of Johnwell and his co-conspirators in Crowley. On March 31, 2022, law enforcement agents were made aware of the purchase of cocaine by an individual from Johnwell. On April 19, 2022, a search warrant was obtained and executed at Johnwell’s residence in Crowley. Agents seized approximately 1.2 pounds of marijuana, a bottle of promethazine syrup, approximately 765 grams of cocaine containing fentanyl, and approximately 112 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride. In addition, agents found and seized 14 firearms and over 59 various rounds of ammunition.

The case was investigated by DEA and HSI and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John W. Nickel.

In an unrelated case, Henry Washington, Jr., 26, was sentenced by United States District Judge David C. Joseph to 180 months in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release.  Washington pleaded guilty on September 26, 2023, to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl analogue. On December 10, 2021, agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) assisted the Opelousas Police Department with a United States Postal Service (USPS) package that contained two kilograms of suspected fentanyl. The package was mailed from an individual in California to a residence in Opelousas. Agents were able to recover the package delivered to the residence and the suspected narcotics were tested by the DEA Southeast Drug Laboratory and tested positive for para-fluorofentanyl, a Schedule I illicit fentanyl analogue.

Washington admitted to conspiring with other co-defendants, Jasmin Coleman and Owen Ozenne to distribute and possess with intent to distribute the para-fluorofentanyl that was delivered to the residence in Opelousas.

The case was investigated by DEA, USPS, and Opelousas Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John W. Nickel.

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Updated January 12, 2024

Topic
Drug Trafficking