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Man sentenced for drug distribution, possession charges

La Plata, MD - For Sequan Taurique Johnson, 22 of Temple Hills, past transgressions came to a head Monday, June 15 in Charles County Circuit Court.

Charles County Circuit Court Judge H. James West sentenced Johnson to two concurrent 15 months sentences and another 90 days in the Maryland Department of Corrections for possession of marijuana charges and two counts of possession with intent to distribute.

Charles County Assistant State’s Attorney Constance Kopelman told the court the possession resulted from a traffic accident in which Johnson was the victim May 27, 2014.

She said while the defendant was being transported to the hospital he was clutching a pair of jeans to his chest. When officers approached him at the hospital to talk to him about the accident they smelled marijuana, Kopelman explained.

“He handed them the jeans and the officers found 20 individual wrapped plastic baggies of marijuana in the pants,” she said.

On Feb. 24, 2015, officers executed a search warrant at a Super 8 Motel where the defendant was staying. They found two bags of marijuana in a Toyota he was driving, as well as 44 grams of marijuana in the hotel room.

“He got out in July of last year and was pulled over,” Kopelman told the court. “When he was pulled over he had a large quantity of marijuana in his possession. Clearly, he does not care about the law or the consequences of the law. He told his mother in a phone conversation that he was selling drugs.”

Kopelman called Johnson “a big time drug dealer.”

Charles County Public Defender Michael Beach disagreed with the state’s opinion.
“It’s somewhat of an oxymoron to claim my client is a hard core marijuana seller and hyperbolic to say he’s a big time drug dealer,” Beach asserted. “That’s a little over the top.

“The state seems to think he is a lost cause,” he added. “During a time when the state has decriminalized 10 grams of marijuana, in the incident where he went to the hospital he was only carrying a little over 20 grams. He was hit by a car. This is not a federal case. It simply isn’t. He admitted to his mother he was dealing because he needed food and shelter. He was selling a little bit of weed to put food in his stomach. There was no gun, no restitution owed, no victim. In no way was this a massive operation whatsoever.”

Beach said the defendant’s father committed suicide when he was 1 year old and that his step-father had taken out a protective order against him.

Johnson told the court he wanted to apologize for his actions.

“I’ve been here four months,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of time to think of how to change my direction of what I want to do. I’d like to get a chance to start my life over.”

“My take on this, one is the phone call,” West stated. “To me, those phone calls showed him to be manipulative. A large part of those phone calls was his desire to bond out of jail, placing blame on his mother because she’s not helping him.

“He was selling marijuana to make money,” the judge said.

On the three cases, West sentenced Johnson to 15 months in DOC on the two separate distribution charges and another 90 days on the possession charges. He was given credit for time served since February when he was incarcerated.

Contact Joseph Norris at joe.norris@thebaynet.com

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