A man who came to Anderson County from the Detroit area has been convicted of possessing heroin and marijuana for sale in a school zone, and he faces 25 to 40 years in prison, authorities said Wednesday.
Charles Randolph Johnson was found guilty on Friday, September 18, Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark said in a press release. The jury deliberated for 1.5 hours before announcing their verdict after a trial that lasted 1.5 days.
Johnson has a separate November 10 trial for actually selling the heroin, Clark said in the press release. The DA said Johnson has been charged separately for allegedly selling heroin three times on Coconut Lane near Claxton Elementary School. He also has charges pending for allegedly coercing a witness, Clark said.
The DA said the potential 25- to 40-year sentence for the Friday convictions is based on Johnson’s prior felony record and because the jury found that the crime occurred within a school zone. But the specifics of the sentence will be determined by Anderson County Criminal Court Judge Don Elledge at the November 30 sentencing hearing, Clark said.
In addition to the charges of possessing drugs for sale, Johnson was also found guilty on Friday of possessing drug paraphernalia, Clark said.
The DA said Johnson came to Anderson County from Monroe, Michigan, near Detroit, with heroin and marijuana. Agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, Oak Ridge Police Department, and the Seventh Judicial Crime Task Force investigated.
“Following the alleged buys of heroin, agents obtained a search warrant for the trailer on Coconut Lane,” Clark said in the press release. “The case tried last week was related to what was found when that search warrant was executed. The trial jury heard evidence that Johnson possessed heroin and marijuana packaged for resale in the trailer as well as drug paraphernalia.”
Johnson was arrested in February 2013, and he was 38 at the time. Authorities said then that they were able to use a confidential source to buy heroin three times from the Coconut Lane home, and when they served a search warrant, they found about one ounce of the powerful, highly addictive drug inside the house. The home is about 1,000 feet from Claxton Elementary School.
Authorities also arrested Joe Fentress Butler, who was 28 at the time, and they said Johnson supplied the heroin to Butler for resale.
“We have been concerned for some time about the appearance of drugs in the metropolitan Knoxville area from Detroit, particularly the appearance of heroin from Detroit,” Clark said Wednesday. “Heroin is horribly addicting, has produced a number of recent overdoses, and destroys lives and families. I am grateful for the hard work of law enforcement, my staff, and the court in bringing this matter to justice. Hopefully, this will send a message to those bringing drugs to our community from Detroit.”
The case against Johnson was tried by Assistant District Attorney General Ryan Spitzer, with Elledge presiding.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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