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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 1, 2021

Federal Jury Takes Less than an Hour to Convict Hazelwood Man on Drug and Firearms Charges

PITTSBURGH, PA - After deliberating for less than an hour, a federal jury on Friday found James Weldon Johnson, aka “300 Blocc Knocc”, guilty on four counts of violating federal narcotics and firearm laws, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

Johnson, age 36, was tried before Chief United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

According to Assistant United States Attorneys Brendan T. Conway and Ross E. Lenhardt, who prosecuted the case, the evidence established that James Weldon Johnson distributed fentanyl December 30, 2016 in a transaction that was observed by a detective from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and that occurred directly outside of 330 Renova Street in the Hazelwood neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police followed up that observation with a search warrant for that residence on January 2, 2017.

The search led to the seizure of substantial quantities of fentanyl, cocaine, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, as well as a stolen and loaded .45 caliber handgun, two extended length magazines for the .45 handgun, and numerous items commonly used in drug trafficking such as electronic scales, body armor, inositol, cash and baking soda. The defendant was arrested at that location while in possession of two cellular telephones, over $900 more in cash, and the keys to the residence. After obtaining search warrants and extracting the contents of those cellphones, experts concluded that the messages in those phones indicated that one of the cellular telephones was used in the December 30, 2016 transaction and that Johnson was regularly using that cellular telephone to sell illegal narcotics.

Judge Hornak scheduled sentencing for March 2, 2022. The law provides for a total sentence of at least five years and up to life in prison, a fine of up to $4,500,000 or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based on the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court remanded the defendant back into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Acting United States Attorney, Stephen R. Kaufman commended the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for conducting the investigation and assisting in the prosecution and conviction of James Weldon Johnson.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Updated November 1, 2021