Richmond Man Convicted of Methamphetamine Trafficking and Firearms Charges

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – A Richmond, Kentucky man was convicted on Tuesday, by a federal jury sitting in Covington, of distribution of more than 500 grams of methamphetamine, distribution of heroin, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, and possession of firearms by a convicted felon.           

After 45 minutes of deliberations, following a 2-day trial, the jury convicted 57-year-old John William Lawson of the offenses.           

According to testimony at trial, Lawson was arrested after a traffic stop during which officers located a loaded handgun, drug paraphernalia, and more than $23,000 in United States currency.  Subsequent search warrants at Lawson’s residence in Madison County revealed more than one pound of methamphetamine, which was determined to be 100% pure.  The search also resulted in the seizure of an additional $57,000 in United States currency, thousands of Xanax pills, and several firearms. 

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Lawson was indicted in June 2020.           


Carlton S. Shier, IV, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky;  J. Todd Scott, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Louisville Field Division; Chief James Ebert, Richmond Police Department, and Sheriff Mike Coyle, Madison County Sheriff’s Office, jointly announced the verdict.

The investigation was conducted by the DEA, the Madison County AHIDTA Task Force, the Richmond Police Department, and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. The United States was represented in the case by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Todd Bradbury and David Kiebler. 

Lawson will appear for sentencing on September 16, 2021.  He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years and a maximum of life imprisonment.  However, the Court must consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the applicable federal sentencing statutes before imposing its sentence.

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This case prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” Program (PSN), which is a nationwide, crime reduction strategy aimed at decreasing violent crime in communities.  t involves a comprehensive approach to public safety — one that includes investigating and prosecuting crimes, along with prevention and reentry efforts. In the Eastern District of Kentucky, Acting U.S. Attorney Shier coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.

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