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Press Release

New Bern Man Sentenced to More Than 15 Years in Prison for Heroin Trafficking and Illegal Possession of a Firearm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

WILMINGTON, N.C. – Howard Jones, 50, of Craven County was sentenced today to 188 months in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and distribution of 100 grams or more of heroin, distribution of a quantity of heroin, possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and possession of a firearm by a felon.

According to court documents, other evidence and information presented in court, on June 15, 2020, the Craven County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop on Jones as he travelled back from Chicago.  A K-9 alerted on the car and $15,000 was located.  On June 24, 2020, the Craven County Sheriff’s Office and New Bern Police Department made a controlled purchase of an ounce of heroin from Jones at the Kensington Park Apartments in New Bern.  On June 25, 2020, the Craven County Sheriff’s Office, New Bern Police Department, and North Carolina SBI assisted by ATF served a search warrant at the same apartment.  Law enforcement found a secret compartment in the kitchen which contained a loaded stolen handgun, digital scales and 7 ounces of heroin.  They also found $16,000 and a key to a safe deposit box in Georgia in the apartment.   Jones was arrested at the scene.  On July 1, 2020, Jones called a family member from jail and advised them to get a key and attempt to retrieve money for him.  Law enforcement went to the bank and seized $10,000 before they could arrive.

Jones has prior convictions for Felony Aggravated Battery with a firearm, Armed Home Invasion, Manufacturing or delivering a controlled substance and Burglary.

This is part of operation “Fighting Jelly Fish” which is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launders, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Richard E. Myers II. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Craven, County Sheriff’s Office and the New Bern, Kinston, Holly Ridge and Goldsboro Police Departments and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Severo prosecuted the case.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:20-cr-00067-M.

Updated February 17, 2022