From Trussville Tribune staff reports
BIRMINGHAM – A Birmingham man pled guilty today in federal court to selling heroin last year that caused the death of one person and seriously injured another, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Special Agent in Charge Bret Hamilton.
Michael Dewayne “Big Boi” Johnson, 32, appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala and pled guilty to one count of distributing heroin in Jefferson County on July 28, 2016, and that a 31-year-old Cullman man died as a result of using that heroin.
Johnson also pled guilty to distributing heroin that day that caused serious bodily injury to a then 18-year-old Cullman man who overdosed from using the drug. Johnson pled guilty to one count of distributing heroin in Jefferson County on Aug. 3, 2016. Johnson is scheduled for sentencing Dec. 13.
“The opioid epidemic continues to cause overdose deaths and near deaths in our communities,” Town stated in a press release today. “This guilty plea today sends a very loud message that if you are dealing in heroin or fentanyl, we are coming for you and will bring you to justice. Enforcement of drug-trafficking laws is a top priority of the Department of Justice and we are working in partnership with federal, state, and local law enforcement to bring the most serious available charges against the most dangerous drug dealers.”
“Heroin-related overdoses are becoming a national epidemic, including here in Birmingham, as people addicted to prescription pills become desperate to feed their addictions,” Hamilton said, according to the press release. “DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to make it a priority to ban together to identify and investigate those who distribute drugs that result in overdose and death. This case should send a message to anyone who would illegally distribute drugs that behind every overdose, law enforcement is looking for the drug dealer responsible.”
The penalty for distributing heroin that causes death or serious bodily injury is 20 years to life in prison and a maximum $2 million fine. The maximum penalty for distributing heroin is 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
DEA investigated the case, which the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama is prosecuting.