A Long Branch man faces up to 30 years in prison after being convicted of gun and drug-related charges, announced U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger.

Marnell Johnson, 46, of Long Branch, New Jersey, has been convicted of possession with intent to distribute heroin, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

There were federal investigators who picked up a whiff of what Johnson was up to and in 2020 the convicted felon sold heroin to a confidential source -- four times.

After that, on April 8, DEA Special Agents executed a federal search warrant at Johnson's apartment and found the smoking gun -- and an actual gun -- by seizing a loaded .380 caliber semi-automatic firearm from a drawer where he was also stashing heroin and packing material/drug paraphernalia.

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Getty Images/iStockphoto
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When he is sentenced, Attorney Sellinger said that Johnson faces "a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on the count of possession with intent to distribute, 10 years in prison on the felon in possession count, and a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of life on the count charging possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, which must run consecutive to the sentences imposed on the other counts. Johnson also faces a potential maximum fine of $1.5 million."

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Getty images / ipopba
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As part of the investigation and assistance that led to the guilty verdict, U.S. Attorney Sellinger gives credit to "DEA special agents under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson in Newark; the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Lori Linskey; the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer; the Long Branch Police Department, under the direction of Public Safety Director Domingos A. Saldida; the Lakewood Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Gregory Howard Meyer; the Neptune Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Larry B. Fisher; and the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Shaun Golden."

The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Matthews of the Criminal Division and J. Brendan Day, Attorney-in-Charge of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Trenton office.

Defense counsel: Tim Anderson Esq., and Dan Peterson Esq., Red Bank, New Jersey.

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