Georgia prison inmate pleads guilty in meth conspiracy


ATLANTA – The leader of a wide-ranging methamphetamine conspiracy has pleaded guilty to running the operation from inside a Georgia prison.

Christopher David Johnson, 46, pleaded guilty last week in federal court to distributing 500 grams or more of meth. He is facing a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of life behind bars.

According to court documents, Johnson conspired with multiple individuals including Michael Paul Brown, who was sentenced last week to 15 years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to distribute meth from Georgia to southwest Virginia.

From prison, Johnson used multiple cellphones to direct the operation. He also communicated regularly with his co-conspirators by using both Facebook and text messaging, coordinating pricing, quantities, sales, and deliveries of the drug.

The $36.1 billion state budget Gov. Brian Kemp signed last week includes $10.7 million for a technology upgrade inside state prisons to stem the flow of cellphones and other contraband being smuggled in to inmates. 

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and multiple law enforcement agencies in Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia investigated Johnson’s case. Johnson’s guilty plea came in federal court in Abingdon, Va.