DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Louisiana

For Immediate Release

Thursday, January 25, 2024
Duane A. Evans
, United States Attorney
Contact: Shane M. Jones, shane.jones@usdoj.gov

Westbank Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Gun and Drug Violations

NEW ORLEANS – Brandon Johnson, aka Brandon Smith, 32, of Jefferson Parish, pled guilty on Jan. 18 before U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier to counts 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 of the indictment pending against him.

Count 1 charged Johnson with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 924(c). Count 2 charged him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, in violation of Title 18 USC § 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(8). Count 3 charged him with possession with the intent to distribute a quantity of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine and cocaine, in violation of Title 21 USC § 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(C). Count 5 charged him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, in violation of Title 18 USC § 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(8). Count 6 charged him with the illegal possession of a machinegun, in violation of Title 18 USC § 922(o). Count 7 charged him with possession with the intent to distribute a quantity of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, fentanyl and marijuana, in violation of Title 21 USC § 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(C), and (D). The sentencing will be held April 25.

Based on his guilty plea, Johnson will face the following sentences as to each count:

As to count 1, Johnson will face a mandatory minimum sentence of not less than five years up to a maximum of life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Any jail sentence imposed in connection with count 1 must be consecutive to any other count. He will also face up to five years of supervised release.

As to count 2, Johnson will face up to 10 years imprisonment, up to a $250,000 fine and up to three years of supervised release.

As to count 3, Johnson faces up to 20 years in prison, up to a $1 million fine and a term of supervised release of not less than three years up to life.

As to count 5, Johnson faces up to 10 years in prison, up to a $250,000 fine and up to three years of supervised release.

As to count 6, Johnson will face up to 10 years in prison, up to a $250,000 fine and up to three years of supervised release.

As to count 7, Johnson faces up to 20 years in prison, up to a $1 million fine and a term of supervised release of not less than three years up to life.

Additionally, as to each charged count, Johnson faces payment of a mandatory $100 special assessment fee.

On Feb. 21, 2021, Jefferson Parish Deputies stopped Johnson in his vehicle for a traffic violation and saw marijuana in his car. Deputies then searched Johnson and found additional drugs. They then searched his car, found MDMA pills and a gun and arrested him. A subsequent jail search of Johnson uncovered approximately 90 pieces of crack cocaine (approximately 12 grams) in his possession. 

While Johnson was out on bond after his arrest, Jefferson Parish narcotics detectives saw Johnson conducting hand to hand drug transactions and arrested him. A post-arrest search of Johnson, plus two vehicles in his possession and his two cell phones, revealed methamphetamine, fentanyl, marijuana, a gun with a Glock switch as well as photos of Glock switches, drugs, money and guns.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maurice E. Landrieu Jr. of the Narcotics Unit.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities and measuring the results.

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New Orleans Field Division