TUCSON, AZ (STL.News) Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced an arrest warrant has been issued for Philip Johnson, a Tucson man, following the sentencing of his co-defendant Emanuel Simpson of Michigan. Earlier this year, a Pima County jury convicted Johnson of Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices, Illegally Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, and Conspiracy for his role in defrauding the Pima County Superior Court to obtain firearms as a prohibited possessor. Simpson assisted Johnson in the scheme.
Johnson has multiple felony convictions dating back to 1997, and as a result, he is a prohibited possessor. In early 2017, Johnson recruited Simpson to collect 32 guns held in Tucson Police custody that had been confiscated in a previous criminal court case. He bought Simpson a plane ticket to fly to Arizona and helped Simpson file an affidavit with the Pima County Superior Court falsely claiming ownership of the firearms. Simpson later picked up the guns from the Tucson Police Department in a van provided by Johnson and was driving the guns around Tucson with Johnson following. The Tucson Police Department discovered the scheme and seized the firearms before Johnson took back the van.
In August of 2019, Johnson fled from the courthouse before the jury returned the verdicts against him, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Johnson faces a sentence of 10 to 35 years in prison.
Johnson is presently a fugitive from justice. Please contact the Tucson Police Department Detective Carlos Aguilar with AZ Most Wanted at (520) 471-4127 if you have any information leading to his arrest.
On November 19th Simpson was sentenced to two years of probation.