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Press Release

Leader of Family-Run Heroin-Trafficking Ring Sentenced

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

NORFOLK, Va. – A Portsmouth man was sentenced today to 22 years in prison for conspiring to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin; and for distributing heroin, fentanyl, and Acetyl fentanyl.

“Malcolm Jones turned armed drug trafficking into a family business, relying on his brother, sons, and others to help run multiple drug properties from which they injected deadly substances such as heroin, fentanyl, and crack cocaine into the Hampton Roads community,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Thanks to the coordinated work of federal, state, and local law enforcement, Operation High Tide has been a success in apprehending individuals who have deprived our neighborhoods of peace and security through the dangerous combination of drugs and guns. Neutralizing individuals, like Jones, who have committed serious offenses and endangered our communities has been and remains the goal of this highly coordinated and targeted law enforcement operation.”

According to court documents, Malcolm Dominique Jones, 45, was the leader and patriarch of a family-run heroin-trafficking operation in Portsmouth. The Jones operation ran at least three drug properties. One of these properties was the “Court,” a residence serving as the distribution point for Jones’s drugs such as heroin, fentanyl, Acetyl fentanyl, crack, and powder cocaine. Between 2017 and 2019, the “Court” served 50 to 100 customers a day. During that time, Jones arranged for his brother and three sons to live at the “Court.” He had them manage drug-trafficking efforts and stockpile firearms to protect their drug trade, until authorities shut down the operation in September 2019. Jones also admitted to knowingly marketing fentanyl and Acetyl fentanyl-laced products as heroin.

“Drug dealing alone brings danger into communities, but adding firearms into the mix as a means to enforce and expand territory makes it exponentially more dangerous, even lethal,” said Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division. “ATF’s priority is reducing violent crime and this investigation focused on the most violent offenders in the Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Portsmouth communities. We are committed to our law enforcement partnerships and fulfilling the mission of Project Guardian to help keep our cities safe.”

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. Click here for more information about Project Guardian.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division; and Col. K.L. Wright, Chief of Chesapeake Police, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson. Assistant U.S. Attorney William B. Jackson and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristin G. Bird prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:19-cr-155.


Contact: Joshua Stueve
Director of Public Affairs

Updated February 5, 2020

Drug Trafficking
Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods