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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Western District of Washington

For Immediate Release

December 10, 2010

United States Attorney

Monroe Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Meth Distribution and Weapons Charges

Repeat Offender Arrested in Connection with ’La Familia’ Takedown

MICHAEL ANTHONY JOHNSON, 38, of Monroe, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 20 years in prison and 10 years of supervised release for four counts related to illegal drugs and weapons. JOHNSON was convicted by a jury on May 18, 2010 following a week-long trial.

JOHNSON was convicted of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of an explosive. U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez imposed the mandatory minimum 20 year prison term.

JOHNSON was identified for prosecution following the October 21, 2009, search of his residence. The search followed a lengthy investigation into a high-level methamphetamine transportation and trafficking organization. The investigation, begun in December 2008, linked that organization to the La Familia cartel based in Michoacan, Mexico. On October 21, 2009, law enforcement officers found Methamphetamine, a semi-automatic Bushmaster assault rifle, a Tec-9 semi-automatic handgun, ammunition, two military-issue explosives, and an improvised hand grenade at JOHNSON’s Monroe home. A review of phone calls recorded in the investigation revealed JOHNSON’s role as a distributor of methamphetamine. In all 22 people have been charged in the case. In the course of the entire investigation law enforcement seized 27 pounds of methamphetamine, 10 kilos of cocaine, seven guns, and an estimated $150,000 in cash.

JOHNSON has ten prior criminal convictions, including convictions for Assault (Kitsap County 1993), two convictions for Illegal Possession of a Firearm (Kitsap County 1999 and 2002), Attempted Delivery of Methamphetamine (Kitsap County 2000), Bail Jumping (Kitsap County 2002), Attempting to Elude a Police Vehicle (Kitsap County 2008), and Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine (Pierce County 2008).

In her sentencing memo Assistant United States Attorney Sarah Vogel described JOHNSON’s lengthy criminal history and his disdain for the rule of law. JOHNSON was responsible for obtaining and re-distributing very high purity methamphetamine, worth several thousands of dollars, as part of an ongoing and escalating conspiracy. There is no evidence to suggest that his criminal conduct would have stopped, but for the October 21, 2009, DEA search and arrest. Indeed, even after that date, Defendant went on committing criminal acts into February of 2010 as he fled Western Washington in a stolen car, carrying methamphetamine and a disguise, until finally arrested and detained on these charges.

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the South Snohomish County Narcotics Task Force consisting of Lynnwood Police Department, Mountlake Terrace Police Department, and Edmonds Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). King County Sheriff’s Office, the Seattle Police Department, Washington State Patrol, Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force, Monroe Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and U.S. Marshal’s Service also participated in the investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sarah Vogel and Special Assistant United States Attorney Adam Cornell. Mr. Cornell is a Deputy Snohomish County Prosecutor.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or