An Indianapolis man accused of mixing a batch of heroin that killed two Boone County men has been charged in their deaths.
Andre Johnson, 42, was sentenced for drug dealing and freed on probation only four months before he sold fatal doses of fentanyl masquerading as heroin, according to court records.
Johnson pleaded guilty to dealing in a narcotic drug, a level 4 felony, in February 2020. The prosecutor’s office advocated for a five-year sentence with the Indiana Department of Correction. After arguments from the prosecutor and defense, Boone Superior Court Judge Matthew Kincaid sentenced him to five years with the Indiana Department of Correction but suspended the prison time in favor of probation.
Johnson, who went by the names Conrad or Rad to his buyers, mixed fentanyl with inert ingredients to sell as heroin, as most heroin dealers do at present, Lebanon Police Detective Eric Adams said. Most heroin sold now is pure or mostly fentanyl, which is far more potent and deadlier than heroin and is responsible for a sharp uptick in drug overdoses, Adams added.
The victims’ phone records and Johnson’s own phones identified him as the dealer who sold fentanyl to Russell Ervin, 34, and Wesley Johnson, 28, on Oct. 23, police reported. Both were found dead in their homes Oct. 24, 2020, according to court records. The number on a victim’s phone for Conrad or Rad was the same number Boone County Probation had on file for him, police reported.
A forensic pathologist determined Ervin and Wesley Johnson died of fentanyl intoxication, according to court records.
Adams, a member of the Boone-Hamilton County Drug Task Force, served a search warrant on Johnson’s parents’ home in Indianapolis, called Conrad’s number, and a phone in Johnson’s bedroom rang, Adams reported. Also found in the room was enough fentanyl to indicate he was dealing, a cutting agent, packing material, a digital scale and more than $6,000 in cash, police reported. Johnson faces new charges in Marion County as a result and is being held in the Marion County Jail.
Ervin had lived in Lebanon. His father found him dead in his room when he attempted wake him to go hunting, police reported, adding that he was still holding a syringe in his right hand.
“He was going in there to wake his son in the morning, and he’s not in good health and relied on his son to help him out,” Adams said. “Instead, he walks in and finds him dead.”
Wesley Johnson’s sister found his body, a syringe in the sink nearby, in the bathroom of his Thorntown home, police reported.
Wesley Johnson had completed drug rehabilitation and maintained sobriety for months.
“All indications point to this being his first time relapsing,” Adams said. “He had a weak moment and reached out to his dealer. And if his dealer hadn’t answered because he was in prison for the previous conviction, then he may have waited and still be around.
“Everyone wants a break for the drug dealer until they kill their family member,” Adams said. “The Andre Johnson who was selling to Russ and Wes was the same person who was selling a month before. He didn’t necessarily have ill intent toward them, but he didn’t have any care either. They were just money to him.”
Johnson is charged in the Ervin and Wesley Johnson deaths with two counts of dealing in a controlled substance resulting in death. That charge is a level 1 felony, which is punishable by 20-40 years imprisonment in Indiana.
“The Boone County Prosecutor’s Office has always worked diligently with the Hamilton-Boone County Drug Task Force in an effort to hold drug dealers accountable,” Boone County Prosecutor Kent Eastwood said. “This investigation and prosecution is another example of that teamwork.”
He was convicted also of:
Possession of cocaine in 1996 in Marion County;
Child molesting in 2001 in Marion County; and
Dealing in a narcotic drug or cocaine and possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon in 2005 in Marion County.