Man who got crack sentenced reduced returns to drug dealing

An Eastern Shore man who got out of federal prison in December when his crack cocaine sentence was reduced was sent back to prison this week after being sentenced to 11 years in federal prison for distributing drugs.

Prosecutors with the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office said Clevon "Ty" Johnson, 38, went back to his old career less than a year after walking out of prison.

"Mr. Johnson did not learn the first time he went to prison for a drug conviction and crime does not pay," said Ava Cooper-Davis, the head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Washington field office.

According to Johnson's plea agreement, he joined a drug conspiracy selling cocaine in Cambridge and in Baltimore with several other people. Prosecutors said a search of Johnson's house in Cambridge turned up a quarter-kilo of crack cocaine and 10 kilo bricks of cocaine. Another search at a business in Baltimore turned up more drugs, authorities said.

Court records show that his 17 year sentence was reduced to 14 years.

Three men have now pleaded guilty in the case and face lengthy prison terms.

Last month, The Sun's Justin Fenton wrote how revisions in federal crack cocaine sentencing guidelines are resulting in reductions of sentences for some defendants. The changes are nationwide, and are spurred by concerns that crack laws are more severe than for power cocaine, resulting in racial disparities

But Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosentstein was one of the few to take exception to the changes, pointing out that often his office gets convictions in drug cases that are easier to prosecute than violent offenses. The long sentences means justice is served either way. That tool may now be gone.

"In some cases, their record may not reflect the violent crimes in which they were engaged," Rosenstein told Fenton. "When prosecutors had these crack penalties, they used those to incarcerate people for lengthy periods of time without proving the violence. It's much more complicated to prove that somebody's involved in shootings and murder."

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