Johnston man sentenced to 10 years for fentanyl trafficking


According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island, the “leader of a fentanyl trafficking conspiracy that distributed and possessed enough fentanyl to create more than two million potentially lethal doses of the drugs has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.”

U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Cunha distributed a press release earlier this week, announcing the sentence and the seizure of more than two kilograms of fentanyl and two firearms.

Jonathan King, 33, of Johnston, “previously admitted to a federal judge that he arranged for the sale and delivery of thousands of fentanyl-laced pills, some of which were delivered at his direction by family members, including his father, was convicted in U.S. District Court on June 7, 2022, of conspiracy to distribute more than 400 grams of fentanyl and distribution of 400 grams or more of fentanyl,” according to prosecutors.

He was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Court Chief Judge John J. McConnell Jr. to 120 months of incarceration to be followed by five years of federal supervised release, according to Cunha’s office.

“The defendant’s drug distribution network put countless Rhode Island lives at risk for his own selfish gain,” Cunha said. “This prosecution, and today’s decade-long sentence should make one thing clear: in a time when overdose rates in our state remain at crisis levels, and every city and town in Rhode Island has seen opioid overdose deaths, we are determined to use every federal law enforcement tool at our disposal to stop combat significant opioid traffickers.”

“The state of Rhode Island is faced with a fentanyl crisis unlike ever before as deaths continue to soar,” said Acting DEA Special Agent in Charge Stephen P. Belleau, New England Field Division. “Those responsible for distributing lethal drugs like fentanyl disguised in pills to the citizens of Rhode Island need to be held accountable for their actions. Today’s sentence holds Mr. King accountable for his crimes and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to put other callous distributers like him behind bars. Make no mistake, DEA will aggressively pursue Drug Trafficking Organizations who are distributing this poison in order to profit and destroy people’s lives.”

At Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, King was also “ordered to forfeit proceeds derived from his drug trafficking activities to include a Jaguar XF and $6,750 in cash seized at the time of his arrest on July 20, 2021,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In June 2022, prosecutors said that King, then 31, “admitted to the court that on May 25, 2021, he arranged to sell and have delivered 4,000 fentanyl pills to a person who arranged for the purchase while under surveillance by members of the Rhode Island DEA Drug Task Force. King sold the same individual an additional 1,000 fentanyl pills on two dates in June 2021.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney G. Michael Seaman, with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee H Vilker, and investigated by the Rhode Island Drug Task Force, comprised of personnel from the DEA; Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation; Rhode Island State Police (RISP); Amtrak Police; and officers from the Cranston, Middletown, Newport, Pawtucket, Providence, Warwick and Woonsocket police departments.


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