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Trumbull judge sends Warren man to prison for 32 years in drug case

Published: Thu, June 2, 2011 @ 12:10 a.m.


Frederick D. Johnson is led from the courtroom after Judge Peter Kontos of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court sentenced Johnson to 32 years in prison for being a “major drug offender.”

By Ed Runyan



Common Pleas Judge Peter Kontos sentenced drug dealer Fred D. Johnson, 40, of Warren, to 32 years in prison Wednesday for being a “major drug offender” who brought a large quantity of heroin and other drugs into Trumbull County from Detroit.

Jeff Orr, commander of the Trumbull Ashtabula Group Law Enforcement Task Force, which led the investigation of Johnson, said the Detroit native was somewhat unusual for Trumbull County in that he dealt large quantities of drugs.

“He was supplying a lot of people,” Orr said. Such dealers usually work out of larger cities, such as Youngstown, Columbus or Cleveland, Orr said.

Prosecutors said Johnson and his girlfriend, Brandi Watson, 27, both of Wallace Street Southeast, had $120,000 worth of heroin when Orr’s team and other officers chased Johnson and Watson in a car through Warren on Jan. 15, 2010. Johnson bought the heroin in Detroit earlier that day.

The chase led police to recover heroin, Watson’s gun and to arrest Johnson and Watson in the days that followed.

Orr said the 32-year sentence is “probably the highest we’ve seen” for drug offenses in his 26 years in law enforcement.

Chris Becker, assistant county prosecutor, said the 15-year sentence Watson received and the 32 years for Johnson are “two pretty good sentences.”

Becker and Orr said long prison sentences are justified by the number of Trumbull County residents who have died in recent years from drug overdoses.

Orr said statistics indicate that between 41 and 64 people have died from accidental drug overdoses in Trumbull County between 2006 and 2010.

Becker said the sentence will make it likely that Johnson dies in prison. “He should die in prison,” Becker said, for the people whose lives were ruined or cut short by the drugs Johnson supplied.

After the sentencing, Johnson said, “They give murderers and rapists less time than they gave me.”

His attorney, Mark Lavelle, said attorneys will appeal the sentencing.

Before announcing Johnson’s sentence, Judge Kontos pointed out that Johnson spent time in federal prison between 1998 and 2007 on drug charges out of Detroit.

“I don’t think you learned very much from your first one,” Judge Kontos said of that sentence.

Johnson and Watson were convicted at a trial of cocaine possession and heroin possession charges, tampering with evidence, a major-drug-offender specification because of the quantity of heroin involved, plus committing the crimes while possessing a gun.

Johnson was also convicted of failing to comply with officers trying to stop him during the chase.

Johnson was sentenced to 150 months in federal prison in March 1998 on conspiracy and cocaine-distribution charges that stemmed from drug dealing Johnson did in Flint, Mich., in August 1998, when Johnson was 26 years old. The indictment named Johnson and 27 other defendants in a huge drug ring.

Johnson was released from prison in 2007 but was scheduled to remain on probation for five years.

Federal court documents show Johnson gave probation authorities an address on Ferndale Avenue Southwest in Warren as his residence after he left prison, meaning that federal probation officials in Ohio had responsibility for monitoring him until July 2012.


1cheybaby2(102 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

I applaud You Judge Kontos For a Job well Done. ITS ABOUT TIME THESE DRUG DEALERS get what they deserve. Keep Up The Excellent Work Putting Them away, I agree there Murder's. Next;; Cocaine dealers Be it Power or Crack, We need this garbage off of our Streets..

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2bouyantkym(30 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

if we would prosecute the users as well, and get them off the streets, maybe this might work also, start a rehabilitation while locked up, instead of just letting people rot in the system. there is a lot of injustice here.but 32 years is kind of harsh. he deserves to be punished, but this is a little too much.he did not hold a gun to their heads and make them use this junk. and if you think about it, the users will just go to the next dealer, or rob the next victim to support their habit, there's crime involved in every aspect here.are we focusing on this also?

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3Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

"After the sentencing, Johnson said, “They give murderers and rapists less time than they gave me.”

We don't give people in Youngstown 32 years for murder . Ah the intolerance of Warren Ohio . . . . They just don't appreciate culture .


Brandi I am glad to be free to live life. And I'm gunna live it to the fullest!
6:50 PM Oct 10, 2010 from Mobile

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4Fattkidd(45 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Rediculous. The state is going broke but we can afford to lock up drug dealers for 32 years? A non-violent drug offender gets a life sentence and child molesters, rapists and murderers get 5-10, max. Nice.

Hey, btw, 90% of the worlds heroine supply comes from Afghanistan. When the Taliban controlled the country, they eradicated the poppy crop which the main ingredient is derived. Since the US and Karzai regime has been in control, opium production has soared and they're breaking records every year. Karzai's brother is a known kingpin.

We know US troops are guarding poppy fields and I wouldn't be surprised if they were helping to get the product to market... albeit maybe unknowingly (CIA).

Hey, those Afghan farmers have got to make a living! Winning hearts and minds, ya know?

But, this punk gets 32 years! Maybe he should have contracted with the CIA?

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5Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

"After the sentencing, Johnson said, “They give murderers and rapists less time than they gave me.”"

BooHooHoo, Go cry to someone who cares.

fat kid
Hope you don't have kids and it's just another conspiracy, huh? smh


No one said he forced anyone, but he supplied it, maybe you should be his cellmate in prison.

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