Feds: Williamsburg gang associate sentenced to 5 years in federal prison for firearm possession

Staff writer

A Williamsburg man was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Wednesday for possessing a firearm while possessing marijuana.

John Lee Johnson, 25, was convicted of possessing a firearm while being a drug user and sentenced to five years in prison, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Johnson also faced an additional charge of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, according to U.S. District Court filings.

On Oct. 15, 2014, Williamsburg Police Department officers were called to the Merrimac Crossing apartment complex on Merrimac Trail for a shooting and a witness gave them the description of a man, according to the filings. The description matched Johnson who was arrested.

Johnson told the arresting officers he threw the pistol behind the Bodega Rio Bravo on Capitol Landing Road and had marijuana and scales in his backpack, according to the filings.

“Yeah, there’s a scale and a bag … two bags of weed,” Johnson said, according to the filings.

The shooting was allegedly spurred when another man drove up to a bus stop Johnson was waiting at and tried to fight him, the filings said. Johnson is believed to be an associate of the 143 Young Dons street gang.

Johnson was charged by federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the shooting on Sept. 11, 2017, and later indicted on Nov. 15, 2018, on the charges, according to the filings. A grand jury also requested if Johnson was convicted of possessing marijuana with intent to distribute that the government seize his assets.

Johnson was later indicted for a second time on more severe charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and possession of a firearm while being a drug user, according to a superseding indictment.

On Feb. 21, Johnson accepted a plea deal with federal prosecutors. He pleaded guilty to being a drug user in possession of a firearm, the filings said.

Johnson was previously charged in Williamsburg in connection with a shooting at the now-defunct Crust Cafe on Richmond Road in Williamsburg, according to Virginia Gazette archives.

Johnson was sentenced in 2018 for convictions of malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony related to the Crust shooting, according to Virginia Gazette archives and online court records.

Johnson appealed the convictions in March 2018, but the Court of Appeals has not issued an opinion on the case.

Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329, by email at srobertsjr@vagazette.com and on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.

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