Michael Dewayne “Big Boi” Johnson of Birmingham, AL was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of distribution and one count of distributing heroin with cause of death or serious injury.
According to US Attorney Jay E. Town, Johnson had sold the drugs in July of 2016. The same day the heroin was sold, the 31-year-old and 18-year-old Cullman men who had purchased the drugs were affected. The 31-year-old man died and the 18-year-old overdosed and was seriously injured. According to court records, Johnson told the victims, “Be careful, this (expletive) will kill you,” when he gave them the drugs.
Officials did not release the names of either the man who died or the man who survived after overdosing on the heroin. Johnson pleaded guilty to distributing heroin in Jefferson County on August 3, 2016. The judgement was read nearly 18 months after the victim was killed.
Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Special Agent in Charge Bret Hamilton had this to say regarding his case, “The opioid epidemic continues to cause overdose deaths and near deaths in our communities,” Town said. “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. “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.”
Jay Town of the US Attorney’s office said “This strong sentence cannot remove the victims’ suffering,” Town said. “But it sends a strong message to every drug dealer that they will be severely punished for the lethal harm their drugs do to others.”
Michael Johnson appeared before US District court Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala of Jefferson County. 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.