DENVER - Federal prosecutors have dropped previous charges against Littleton Police Officer Jeffery Johnston and refiled new charges "by information" in a move that often signifies a plea deal is in the works, 9Wants to Know has confirmed.
Federal prosecutors accuse Johnston of buying Ecstasy from an FBI confidential informant.
Johnston's attorney agreed to have the charges filed "by information" which means Johnston's legal team has agreed not to make prosecutors take the new charges to a grand jury, U.S. Attorney's Office Spokesman Jeff Dorschner told 9Wants to Know Thursday.
A filing of new charges "by information" after other charges are dropped, often precedes a guilty plea.
The new charges are prohibited person in possession of a firearm, Dorschner said. The government alleges Johnston was an illegal drug user who possessed many weapons, including an assault rifle.
The second charge alleges he distributed Ecstasy.
The government is also seeking a court order to seize Johnston's property.
"The indictment we previously filed has been withdrawn and the new charges were filed by information," Dorschner said.
The U.S. Constitution requires all federal charges brought in a federal complaint to be presented to a grand jury, which must hand up an indictment if the case is to be allowed to continue.
Charges can be brought by information when the defendant agrees not to make prosecutors take the case to a grand jury.
Previously, Johnston had faced charges of possessing Ecstasy and intent to distribute, maintaining a drug-involved premises, possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug-trafficking and using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking felony. He is currently out on bond.
Johnston, 46, was accused of paying $1,300 for 37 MDMA pills and 6.3 grams of powder Ecstasy during the undercover drug buy at his Parker home in July.
The Littleton Police Department has placed Johnston on unpaid administrative leave.
Johnston is confined to his home. A federal judge has ordered him to wear a GPS monitoring device.
A call to Johnston's attorney, Pamela R. Mackey, was not immediately returned late Thursday afternoon.
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