MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – A Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, man has admitted to operating a multi-state organized drug trafficking business dubbed the “19th Street Enterprise.”
Christopher Arthur Jones, also known as “Smooth,” pled guilty today to a racketeering enterprise (RICO) conspiracy and fentanyl distribution charges. Jones, 38, was the leader of the organization, directing members of the enterprise to sell drugs, commit acts of violence, launder money, and commit fraud in West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The business was based in Philadelphia, but Jones had drug houses in Martinsburg, West Virginia and elsewhere.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert W. Trumble heard testimony today that Jones ordered armed robberies at residences in West Virginia and Maryland to help fund his enterprise. The homeowners were targeted because of perceived wealth. The organization was selling an estimated 100 grams of fentanyl per week and laundering at least $500 per day from a house on Crooked Way in Martinsburg. Jones also committed COVID fraud, receiving COVID relief funds under false pretenses.
As a part of the plea agreement, Jones has agreed to forfeit any proceeds from the crimes, as well as his Philadelphia property, which was used as the stash house for his operation.
Jones is facing at least 10 years and up to life in federal prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Department of Homeland Security Investigations; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Marshals Service; the West Virginia State Police; the Eastern Panhandle Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative; and the West Virginia Air National Guard investigated. The Eastern District of Pennsylvania U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Kent County Sheriff’s Office assisted.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Omps-Botteicher is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.