Jones ordered hits, say lawyers Man in jail accused of telling step-brother to slay witnesses

February 21, 1997|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A man charged with running a violent drug organization in East Baltimore has ordered the slayings of several witnesses and their mothers even as he awaits trial in federal prison, prosecutors said in court yesterday.

The new allegations against Anthony Ayeni Jones were made in U.S. District Court in Baltimore as federal prosecutors announced drug conspiracy charges against Jones' step-brother, Darnell "Mookie" Jones.

Federal prosecutor Robert R. Harding told U.S. Magistrate Susan K. Gauvey that Darnell Jones, 20, was told to carry out the contract killings "on people and the mothers of people [Anthony Jones] thinks are cooperating with the government."

Harding said that Darnell Jones is expected to be indicted Wednesday on murder charges in the 1994 drug-related slaying of Keith Westmoreland, who was shot by two people wearing the masks of U.S. presidents.

"It is clear that even the drug organization continues to flourish even though Anthony Jones is incarcerated," Harding said. "He is still running the organization from jail." The prosecutor did not elaborate on how.

According to Harding, some witnesses have received threatening, anonymous phone calls that confidential informants said came from the Jones organization. Harding did not offer details on accusations against Darnell Jones. None of the alleged threats has been carried out.

Darnell Jones, who was ordered held without bail yesterday, joins at least 10 other defendants, including a former city police officer, who have been indicted on charges of being key operators in the drug organization, which allegedly sold millions of dollars worth of cocaine dubbed "Space Jam."

Anthony Jones, former Officer Erick McCrary and several others were charged last month under the federal murder in aid of racketeering act in allegedly conspiring to kidnap a rival dealer and kill him. They could face the death penalty.

Prosecutors have long suspected the gang was responsible for dozens of slayings. Yesterday, prosecutors outlined more violence and said the group's prime drug corner was at Chester and East Oliver streets.

Harding called it "disappointing" that Darnell Jones had been charged with committing three murders between December 1994 and April 1995, only to have charges dropped by local prosecutors. He has been convicted of conspiring to sell drugs in 1991 and handgun possession in 1993. He was released from prison last month after serving 30 months for violating probation.

Harding said Darnell Jones went right back to selling drugs, and was arrested last week by a deputy U.S. marshal with two of Anthony Jones' associates during a car stop. He said 43 vials of crack cocaine and a .38-caliber handgun were found in the car.

Darnell Jones' lawyer, Alan Cohen, argued that the government's informants can't be trusted because they are drug dealers. He also said there is no evidence to support a murder charge in Westmoreland's slaying because Anthony Jones was originally charged with that murder and the charges were dropped.

Cohen said his client should be placed on home detention at his foster mother's house in the 1700 block of E. Oliver St., where he and Anthony Jones grew up. "The government has that house under surveillance," he said. "That would be the best place for the government to watch him."

Harding said that idea would be "preposterous" and called the house the "focal point" of the drug organization.

Pub Date: 2/21/97

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