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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Indiana
Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Friday, May 19, 2023

Indianapolis Felon Sentenced to Over 8 Years in Federal Prison After Selling Firearms and Fentanyl via Instagram While on Community Corrections

INDIANAPOLIS- William Johnson, 21, of Indianapolis, Indiana has been sentenced to 105 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and illegally possessing a firearm.

According to court documents, in September 2022, investigators with the Indiana Crime Guns Task Force (ICGTF) learned that Johnson was selling firearms and drugs out of his Indianapolis home after observing a photo of Johnson holding multiple firearms posted to Instagram. At the time the photo was posted, Johnson was on home detention under the supervision of Marion County Community Corrections in connection with a felony conviction for carrying a handgun without a license.

Investigators viewed Johnson’s Instagram stories, which showed him attempting to sell multiple firearms over the app. On September 15, 2022, Johnson posted a video showing a black and silver semiautomatic handgun with the caption, “Come get this one for $300 though.” The video also showed an AR-style rifle and multiple other handguns. Johnson stated that the rifle cost “a G,” meaning $1000. Johnson posted additional firearms on his Instagram account, including a black handgun with a high-capacity drum magazine attached, and a black and white striped rifle.

In addition to the sale of firearms, Johnson used his account to advertise and sell marijuana and fentanyl in the form of counterfeit oxycodone pills.

On September 20, 2022, ICGTF executed a search warrant at Johnson’s residence. During the search, they located a Ruger 9mm handgun, a plastic bag containing over 100 blue fentanyl pills marked “M30,” a Glock gun box containing magazines, a Glock 10 round magazine, $2,020 in cash, a plastic bag containing 83 grams of fentanyl, two plastic bags containing 28 grams of para-fluorofentanyl, and 112 grams of marijuana in Johnson’s bedroom. In the garage, investigators found a Glock model 45 9mm handgun belonging to Johnson. This firearm had previously been reported stolen and had a high-capacity magazine attached.

Johnson is prohibited from possessing a firearm due to his previous felony convictions. Johnson has four prior felony convictions, each involving the unlawful possession of firearms.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana and Daryl S. McCormick, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Columbus Field Division made the announcement.

“The days of drug deals solely occurring on street corners are long gone. Today, fentanyl traffickers like this defendant can use social media to push illegal guns and poison into our community,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers. “Fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Hoosiers aged 18-45, and gun violence is the leading killer of American children and teens. The federal prison sentence imposed today should send a stark warning to anyone who believes that social media is a safe space to commit crimes: we are watching, we will find you, and we will hold you accountable.”

ATF and the Indiana Crime Guns Task Force investigated this case. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge James P. Hanlon. Judge Hanlon also ordered that Johnson be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 4 years following his release from federal prison.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United States Attorney Kelsey L. Massa, who prosecuted this case.

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.

This case was brought as part of the Indiana Crime Guns Task Force (ICGTF). ICGTF is a partnership of law enforcement officers and analysts from several central Indiana law enforcement agencies in Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Marion, Morgan, Johnson, and Shelby counties. In cooperation with state, local, and federal partners, ICGTF collaborates to address violent crime through a comprehensive strategy including innovative approaches to locating suspects and evidence related to violent crimes and illegal possession of firearms.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, as little as two milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal, depending on a person’s body size, tolerance, and past usage. One kilogram of fentanyl has the potential to kill 500,000 people. 6 out of 10 illegal fentanyl tablets sold on U.S. streets now contain a potentially lethal dose of the drug.

One Pill Can Kill: Avoid pills bought on the street because One Pill Can Kill. Fentanyl is a highly potent opioid that drug dealers dilute with cutting agents to make counterfeit prescription pills that appear to be Oxycodone, Percocet, Xanax, and other drugs. Fentanyl is used because it’s cheap. Small variations in the quantity or quality of fentanyl in a fake prescription pill can accidentally create a lethal dosage. Fentanyl has now become the leading cause of drug poisoning deaths in the United States. Fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl are usually shaped and colored to look like pills sold at pharmacies, like Percocet and Xanax. For example, fake prescription pills known as “M30s” imitate Oxycodone obtained from a pharmacy, but when sold on the street the pills routinely contain fentanyl. These particular pills are usually round tablets and often light blue in color, though they may be in different shapes and a rainbow of colors. They often have “M” and “30” imprinted on opposite sides of the pill. Do not take these or any other pills bought on the street – they are routinely fake and poisonous, and you won’t know until it’s too late.

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