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Long Beach man faces time for trying to smuggle drugs in prisons across U.S.

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A Long Beach man faces up to 20 years behind bars for attempting to smuggle drugs into jails across multiple states.

Johnson Tran, 46, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute two kinds of synthetic cannabinoids — FUB-AMB and 5F-MDMB-PICA — into the corrections facilities.

According to court documents, in 2018, agents with the Drug Enforcement Agency received information that drug-laced letters and greeting cards were being sent from Mississippi to prisons in Illinois, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

Federal officials determined that inmates were ordering the disguised substances from Tran through prison email accounts and jail calls. The inmates would typically order the drugs using coded language. The cards were laced with synthetic cannabinoids, and many of them were sent from Gulfport.

Tran would ultimately receive payment for the drugs that he sent into prisons via U.S. Department of Treasury checks drawn from the inmate’s prison accounts or peer-to-peer money transfers from associates or family members of the inmates.

When Tran’s associates would receive funds on his behalf, he would give them a portion of the funds they received as payment for their services. He was indicted by a federal grand jury earlier this year along with 19 co-defendants who will go to trial in December.

Tran is scheduled to be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years on February 8, 2024.

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