For Immediate Release
Leader of Armed Drug-Dealing Group Sentenced to 40 Years for Trying to Kill a Federal Informant in Retaliation for Assisting Law Enforcement
CHICAGO — The leader of a group of armed drug dealers who sold crack cocaine and heroin on Chicago’s West Side and western suburbs was sentenced today to 40 years in prison for trying to murder a federal informant who was assisting law enforcement.
TOBY 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, 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 Toby Jones’ older brother, KELSEY JONES, approached the informant’s car 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.
Toby Jones, 38, and Kelsey Jones, 39, both of Chicago, were convicted earlier this year of conspiring with each other in the attempted murder of the informant. Toby Jones was convicted after a bench trial before U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve, who also found him guilty of distributing cocaine and illegally possessing a firearm. Kelsey Jones was found guilty after a jury trial. The jury also convicted him on gun and drug charges.
Judge St. Eve today imposed the sentence on Toby Jones. A sentencing date for Kelsey Jones has not yet been scheduled.
"The south and west sides of Chicago are racked with armed drug dealers who terrorize the community with the violence and social decay that inevitably accompanies their pernicious trade," Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean J.B. Franzblau argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. Attempting to murder a federal witness is "an effort to weaken the institutions and processes that maintain social order."
Testimony at the Jones’ trial revealed that Toby Jones led a group of armed cocaine and heroin dealers. 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. During these meetings, Toby Jones negotiated 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 last year to participating in a drug conspiracy and possessing a firearm. He was sentenced last week to nine years and nine months in prison.
Today’s sentencing of Toby Jones was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Jeffery Magee, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division of ATF. The Oak Park Police Department assisted in the investigation.
The government is represented by Mr. Franzblau and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Hayes.
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