For Immediate Release
Chicago Drug Dealer Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for Trying to Kill a Federal Informant
CHICAGO — A drug dealer who sold crack cocaine and heroin on Chicago’s West Side and western suburbs was sentenced today to 35 years in prison for trying to murder a federal informant who was assisting law enforcement.
KELSEY JONES and his associates tried to kill the informant on two occasions in the spring of 2014 in retaliation for the informant’s cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives. In the first attempt, Jones’ younger brother, TOBY JONES, fired several shots through the front door of an apartment in the informant’s building in Oak Park. The informant was not injured, but an innocent victim was wounded. The second attempt occurred a week later, when Kelsey Jones approached the informant’s vehicle outside of the same building and fired several shots, wounding the informant and another occupant. Both victims survived, as did the victim of the first shooting.
Kelsey Jones, 40, and Toby Jones, 39, both of Chicago, were convicted earlier this year of conspiring with each other in the attempted murder of the informant, as well as gun and drug charges. Toby Jones was sentenced in May to 40 years in prison.
"Defendant’s crimes are among the most serious of federal offenses," Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean J.B. Franzblau argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum in Kelsey Jones’ case. "When a federal undercover operation disrupted his drug trade, defendant had the audacity to join his brother Toby in an attempt to murder the informant."
In handing down the sentence today for Kelsey Jones, Judge Amy J. St. Eve also found that he obstructed justice by lying at a 2015 suppression hearing in a failed effort to prevent the jury from hearing about admissions he made to ATF agents after his arrest.
The sentencing was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and George Lauder, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division of ATF. The Oak Park Police Department assisted in the investigation.
Testimony at trial revealed that Toby Jones led a small group of cocaine and heroin dealers, and actively sought to obtain firearms in connection with his drug dealing activities. In December 2013, a confidential informant introduced an undercover ATF agent to Toby Jones, and for the next several months the agent and the informant purchased crack cocaine from him. Toby Jones also planned to purchase from the undercover agent a firearm with a high-capacity magazine in exchange for crack cocaine.
On March 26, 2014, Toby Jones sent one of his drug dealers, WESLEY FIELDS, to meet with the undercover agent and purchase the gun. Fields was arrested by federal authorities shortly after he arrived at the meeting. Toby Jones thereafter began a week-long effort to track down and murder the confidential informant who set up the deal, culminating in the shootings in Oak Park.
Fields, of Chicago, pleaded guilty to participating in a drug conspiracy and possessing a firearm. He was sentenced in May to nine years and nine months in prison.
The government is represented by Mr. Franzblau and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Hayes.