News Release
March 5, 2009
Contact: Chuvalo J. Truesdell
Number: 404-893-7124

Ladson Drug Dealer Sentenced to Life in Prison

MAR 05 -- Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney W. WALTER WILKINS stated today that KENNETH JOSEPH JOHNSON, age 40, of Ladson, South Carolina, was sentenced on Wednesday in federal court in Charleston after having been convicted by a jury last June of Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine and Conspiracy to Distribute More Than 5 Kilograms of Cocaine.  Chief United States District Judge David C. Norton sentenced JOHNSON to life in prison.  Because JOHNSON had several previous felony drug convictions and was convicted of conspiring to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, his life sentence was mandatory under federal law.

Evidence presented at the trial established that JOHNSON was arrested on August 28, 2006, in rural Berkeley County after being found sitting in a vehicle with nearly 250 grams of cocaine.  Further investigation revealed that JOHNSON had been involved over the past several years in a drug conspiracy with other local drug dealers to include Henry Bennett, another Berkeley County resident who was convicted at trial in April of 2008 of similar offenses and also sentenced to life in prison.  The trial testimony revealed that JOHNSON was involved in the distribution of nearly 50 kilograms of cocaine in the Charleston area in the several years before his arrest.

Prior to his arrest for this offense, JOHNSON had been convicted on five earlier occasions for drug related offenses.  Two of those convictions were in federal court.

The case was investigated by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Assistant United States Attorney Alston C. Badger of the Charleston office prosecuted the case.

Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division, encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at, and takes you directly to the Diversion Control and Prescription Drugs link.