Attorney General Brnovich Announces New Criminal Chief and Additional Staff Promotions

PHOENIX -- Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced the promotion of John Johnson as the new Division Chief of the Criminal Division. Additionally, Virginia Herrera-Gonzales will now be the Division Chief of Child and Family Protection Division. Current Criminal Division Chief Paul Ahler will serve in a new role as the Deputy Division Chief of the Criminal Division.

John Johnson has been promoted to serve as the new Division Chief of the Criminal Division. Early in his career, Johnson served as a supervisory special agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) focusing on conducting major criminal, fraud, and counterintelligence investigations. John has managed a wide variety of criminal cases as a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney over the course of his esteemed career, including working at the Maricopa County Attorney's Office as a Deputy County Attorney. Additionally, Johnson was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Violent Crimes and Antiterrorism Division with the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Arizona. Johnson currently serves as Division Chief for the Child and Family Protection Division, the largest division of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. Johnson has served in this position since 2015.

"John Johnson has a long history of protecting the most vulnerable in our communities and an unwavering commitment to justice," said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. "His experienced and energetic leadership will serve the people of Arizona well."

Virginia Herrera-Gonzales has been promoted to replace Johnson as the Division Chief for the Child and Family Protection Division. Gonzales currently serves as the Northwest Section Chief in the Child and Family Protective Division. Virginia has been with the office for over 28 years, working for five different administrations. Before her current role, she has previously served in the Consumer Protection Section handling fraud cases focusing on cases impacting non-English speaking and vulnerable communities and as the Division Chief of the Arizona Civil Rights Division. Throughout her career with the office, Gonzales has been recognized by her peers as an Attorney of the Year and as a recipient of the Michael C. Cudahy Mentoring award.

Paul Ahler has asked to transition from the Criminal Division Chief and has accepted a special assignment as General Brnovich’s Deputy Division Chief where he will lead the litigation of complex and high-profile criminal cases. Ahler is a career prosecutor having previously served as the Yavapai County Deputy County Attorney and the Chief Deputy for Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley. Ahler has been with the current administration since 2015. In Ahler's tenure with the office, he has helped establish the Criminal Division as one of the preeminent prosecutorial agencies in the country. General Brnovich is grateful for Ahler’s commitment to his administration and his willingness to continue to serve the people of Arizona.

"The Attorney General’s Office has never been busier and the team we have assembled remains committed to justice for the people of Arizona," said Attorney General Brnovich. "I congratulate John, Virginia, and Paul and look forward to their continued success."

These changes are effective July 27, 2020.