Monmouth County Man Convicted of Drug Trafficking and Firearms Offenses

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

TRENTON, N.J. – A Monmouth County, New Jersey, man was convicted of narcotics and firearms offenses, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Marnell Johnson, 46, of Long Branch, New Jersey, was convicted on July 14, 2022, following a three-day trial before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp in Trenton federal court. Johnson was convicted of possession with intent to distribute heroin; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:

On four occasions in early 2020, Johnson, a previously convicted felon, sold heroin to a confidential source. On April 8, 2020, the special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration executed a federal search warrant of Johnson’s apartment and recovered heroin and packaging paraphernalia. The DEA also recovered a loaded .380 caliber semi-automatic firearm from the drawer of the same table on which Johnson’s heroin and packaging material were found. 

Johnson faces a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on the count of possession with intent to distribute; 10 years in prison on the felon in possession count; and a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of life on the count charging possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, which must run consecutive to the sentences imposed on the other counts. Johnson also faces a potential maximum fine of $1.5 million.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson in Newark; the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Lori Linskey; the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer; the Long Branch Police Department, under the direction of Public Safety Director Domingos A. Saldida; the Lakewood Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Gregory Howard Meyer; the Neptune Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Larry B. Fisher; and the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Shaun Golden, with the investigation leading to the guilty verdict.

The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Matthews of the Criminal Division and J. Brendan Day, Attorney-in-Charge of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Trenton office.