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Press Release

Adams County Man Sentenced to 44 Months for Cocaine Conspiracy

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

MADISON, WIS. - Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Lonell Johnson, 27, Grand Marsh, Wisconsin, was sentenced on September 26 by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to 44 months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute cocaine.  Jackson pleaded guilty to this charge on July 11, 2019.

Johnson was charged along with 11 other individuals for participating in a cocaine distribution scheme.  Gregory Smith mailed packages containing cocaine from Houston, Texas, to Joseph Harper in Madison.  Postal records from November 2017 to November 2018 showed 32 packages mailed from Smith to addresses in Wisconsin or Iowa associated with Harper.  Based on witness statements and multiple cocaine seizures in the case, each of the packages contained between a half kilogram and one kilogram of cocaine.

Intercepted communications during the wiretap investigation revealed that Johnson was a highly trusted confidant of Harper and also a frequent cocaine customer.  The investigation revealed that Johnson cooked the purchased cocaine into crack cocaine and sold it to multiple customers in the Grand Marsh area.  In addition, on September 26, 2018, law enforcement agents observed Johnson bring a cocaine package mailed by Smith into Harper’s stash house in Madison. 

In imposing the sentence, Judge Conley noted that Johnson has a lengthy criminal history including crimes involving guns and violence to women.  Judge Conley was also concerned that it appeared Johnson was serving in an apprenticeship role to Harper and was becoming more involved in the conspiracy as time progressed. 

Judge Conley previously sentenced Harper to 12 years in prison and Smith to 11 years in prison for their respective roles in the conspiracy.  All 12 defendants charged in the case have entered guilty pleas.   

The charge against Johnson is the result of a joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Dane County Sheriff’s Office.  The investigation was conducted and funded by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a multi-agency task force that coordinates long-term narcotics trafficking investigations.  The prosecution of the case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Wegner.

Updated September 30, 2019

Drug Trafficking