LONG BEACH, Miss. (WJTV) – A Long Beach man pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute synthetic cannabinoids into prisons in multiple states.

Johnson Tran, 46, pled guilty on October 16, 2023, in U.S. District Court.

According to court documents, DEA agents received information from the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) in 2018 that drug laced letters and greeting cards were being sent to inmates in the Bureau of Prisons from the Southern District of Mississippi. 

The drug laced letters and cards were intercepted at prisons in Illinois, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

DEA and BOP officials were able to determine that inmates were ordering the drug laced letters and cards from Tran via prison email accounts and jail calls. Prosecutors said the inmates would typically order the drugs using coded language. The letters or greeting cards were laced with the synthetic cannabinoids, and many of them were sent from Gulfport, Mississippi.

Agents were also able to determine through the review of financial records that Tran would ultimately receive payment for the drugs that he sent into prison via U.S. Department of Treasury checks drawn from the inmate’s prison accounts and/or peer-to-peer money transfers from associates or family members of the inmates.

Tran was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 18, 2023, along with 19 co-defendants who are currently scheduled for trial in December 2023.

Tran pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance. He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 8, 2024. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment.