Veteran cop facing serious drug charges

Littleton police officer is in federal custody

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Littleton Police Officer Jeffrey Allan Johnston, 46, is facing charges that could mean life in prison after being arrested by the FBI on drug charges July 19.

Cmdr. Trent Cooper said the 22-year LPD veteran was taken into custody at his home without incident.

“The alleged drug activity was confined to his personal life and there is no indication or belief that any criminal misconduct occurred in relation to his work with the Littleton Police Department,” said Cooper.

According to an FBI affidavit, on July 15, Johnston called a known drug dealer who has peddled his wares during parties at Johnston’s Parker home in the past.

Johnston asked if he could buy between 40 and 50 ecstasy pills. The FBI then conducted a “controlled delivery” of 37 pills and 6 grams of ecstasy powder, for which Johnston paid $1,300. Following the exchange, Johnston was taken into custody and his home was searched.

In the kitchen, agents found the fresh delivery and a Colt Officers Model .45-caliber pistol loaded with seven rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber. They also found suspected cocaine, suspected steroids, hundreds of suspected prescription pills, additional firearms, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, empty pill pouches, a drug test kit and a scale.

Johnston was taken to the Jefferson County Detention Center originally. He is now in federal custody, though FBI spokesperson Jeff Dorschner declined to specify where.

Johnston appeared in court to be advised of his rights and the charges on the afternoon of July 22. He faces one count of possession of ecstasy with intent to distribute, which carries a penalty of not more than 20 years in federal prison and a fine of not more than $1,000,000; one count of maintaining a drug-involved premises, which carries a penalty of not more than 20 years in federal prison and a fine of not more than $500,000; one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, which carries a penalty of not less than five years and not more than life in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000; and one count of using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking felony, which carries a penalty of not more than four years in federal prison and up to a $500,000 fine.

Johnston has been placed on unpaid administrative leave. Cooper called him a model employee who was professional, meticulous and always willing to help. He was most recently assigned to the traffic motorcycle unit, conducting traffic enforcement and accident investigations. In the early and mid-1990s, according to Cooper, he was a member of the recently disbanded South Metro Drug Task Force.

“If the charges are true, it’s an absolute disappointment, mixed with anger and sadness” said Cooper. “ We expect our officers to uphold a certain code and a certain behavior. We hold them accountable just like we would any other citizen that made the same mistake.”

The government is asking the court that Johnston be held in custody without bond pending a resolution of his case. A detention hearing and a preliminary hearing are scheduled to take place on July 25 at 3 p.m.