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Guilty plea sends man to prison for 22 years

ALBANY, Ga. -- An Albany man was sent to prison for 274 months Wednesday after pleading guilty to possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute it, stated a United States Attorney's Office e-mail.

Joe Johnson III, 37, was sentenced to the Federal Bureau of Prisons by District Judge W. Louis Sands of the Middle District of Georgia.

"Johnson's four previous sentences for distribution of controlled substances and crimes of violence had not deterred him from this type of conduct," Sands said. "The term of incarceration imposed is to be followed by a period of eight years supervised release."

There is no parole in the federal system, said Sue McKinney, a U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman. Johnson will have to serve the entire 274 months, she added.

Acting U.S. Attorney G.F. Peterman III said that a heavy sentence was more than justified in the Johnson case.

"I concur fully with the court's view of this matter," Peterman said. "This defendant's disregard for the law and for the destructive impact of his conduct on the community demands a sentence of this nature," Peterman said.

When Johnson was arrested on outstanding warrants on June 13, 2007, he was found to be in possession of 16.7 grams of cocaine hydrochloride and 17. 6 grams of cocaine base or "crack cocaine," the grand jury charges noted.

The case was investigated by the Lee County Sheriff's Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney Leah McEwen prosecuted the case.