A 25-year-old man was being held at the D.C. Jail yesterday on charges of using a 6-year-old boy to conceal quantities of the drug Preludin while the man allegedly made illegal drug transactions near a Northeast Washington bus stop.

Walter Othello Johnson, of 1416 Seventh St. NW, was ordered held Saturday in lieu of $10,000 bond on a charge of enlisting a minor to distribute a controlled substance.

If convicted, Johnson could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of $60,000.

According to law enforcement authorities, Johnson on Friday allegedly "engaged in what appeared to be several narcotics transactions" while under surveillance by undercover detectives in a concealed location in the 6200 block of Dix Street NE.

A police affidavit in the case said the child approached Johnson at a bus stop on that block about 1:30 Friday afternoon and Johnson began a conversation with him.

A few minutes later, police said, another man approached Johnson and the boy, and all three walked about a block away where Johnson took the boy into a wooded area, picked up "something light colored" from the ground and placed it in the boy's pants pocket.

Johnson then took the boy by the hand, according to the police report, and led him back toward the bus stop, where they were stopped by police. When asked what he had in his pocket, the boy removed two Preludin tablets--known as "bam" in street parlance--partially wrapped in aluminum foil, police said.

Police said that Johnson shouted at the child, "You just got them off the guy up the street, didn't you?"

Authorities in the police department's youth services division said yesterday that the youth was not related to Johnson and was released into his parents' custody after being interviewed by detectives.

According to court records, Johnson was on probation for narcotics and theft convictions at the time of his arrest and was wanted on a bench warrant for alleged violations of release conditions stemming from those convictions.

Records show that D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert A. Shuker, who had placed Johnson on probation for a heroin possession conviction, issued a series of arrest warrants after Johnson first failed to report to his probation officer then failed to show up at a residential drug treatment facility in Richmond.

On Dec. 3, following his arrest that day for possession of drug paraphernalia, Johnson appeared before a Superior Court magistrate and was released into the custody of Bonabond, an agency that contracts with the city to supervise pretrial defendants, but never appeared before Shuker, who had ordered him held on $5,000 bond.

A preliminary hearing in the case involving the 6-year-old is scheduled for Aug. 23. Johnson is to appear today before Shuker on the probation matter.