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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Louisiana
For Immediate Release
Duane A. Evans, United States Attorney
www.justice.gov/usao-edla
Monday, October 16, 2023

New Orleans Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Gun Control and Federal Controlled Substances Act Charges

NEW ORLEANS — U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that on October 12, 2023, Keaton Johnson, age 22 of New Orleans, pleaded guilty to Counts 1 through 3 of the indictment against him. Count 1 charged Johnson with being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(8). Count 2 charged Johnson with possession with the intent to distribute controlled substances, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(C), and 841(b)(1)(D).Count 3 charged Johnson with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A)(i).

For Count 1, Johnson faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 15 years, a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

For Count 2, Johnson faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, a fine of up to $1,000,000 and at least three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

For Count 3, Johnson faces a minimum term of imprisonment of five years up to a maximum term of life imprisonment, to run consecutively with Counts 1 and 2, a fine of up to $250,000 and up to five years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. As to each count, Johnson also faces payment of a $100 mandatory special assessment fee.

According to public records, on July 19, 2022, New Orleans Police Department (“NOPD”) officers received a call for a gunshot fired in the French Quarter. Then NOPD officers arrived at the scene, there was no victim present. During their investigation, officers learned that a man (later identified as Johnson) got into a verbal argument with another man and a shooting occurred.

Within minutes of the shooting, an NOPD Detective observed Johnson in the French Quarter riding a bike. At the sight of police officers, Johnson attempted to flee on foot but was caught and arrested.

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 track violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department of Justice 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.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives and the New Orleans Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Mike Trummel of the Violent Crime Unit handled the prosecution.

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