Guilty Verdict in First NETFORCE Trial

Defendant Jerome Johnson, arrested in a Narcotics Enforcement Task Force (NETFORCE) operation, led by the State Attorney’s Office, was found guilty as charged of Criminal
Conspiracy (Trafficking in Heroin 28 grams or more). This is the first NETFORCE case to go to trial. The jury returned the verdict this evening, following a two-day trial in Lee County.

Johnson was arrested in September 2020, in Operation Block Party, a long-term NETFORCE investigation into local drug trafficking organizations. Local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies worked together during the investigation.

Johnson, who goes by the street name “Ninja,” was caught on surveillance by law enforcement negotiating a drug deal and selling heroin.

Assistant State Attorney John Dommerich Jr. and Assistant State Attorney Natalie Savino prosecuted the case. Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced on March 20, 2023.

Other defendants arrested in the NETFORCE investigation are awaiting trial.

State Attorney Amira Fox created NETFORCE in 2019 to coordinate a circuit-wide approach to identifying, investigating, and dismantling long-term organized crime, narcotics, racketeering, and money-laundering criminal enterprises.

Samantha Syoen – State Attorney’s Office, Communications Director