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Press Release

Drug trafficker sentenced to 35 years

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana
Violent drug trafficking organization operated out of Kokomo, Indiana

Indianapolis – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today that Michael L. Jones, 38, Kokomo, Ind. was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison and 5 years of supervised release by U.S. District Court Judge James R. Sweeney II.

“Holding Mr. Jones accountable for his drug trafficking dealings, will hopefully help restore some peace and tranquility in the Kokomo neighborhoods he was infecting,” said Minkler. “My message to those who choose to sell illegal drugs and spread the addictions that follow, is that if you don’t choose a different path then you will be held accountable and experience the wrath of federal prosecution.”

From late of 2017 to May 1, 2018, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Indianapolis District Office, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and the Kokomo Police Department conducted an extensive investigation that resulted in the federal arrest of 15 Kokomo, Indiana residents including Jones.

During the investigation, agents seized approximately 17 pounds of methamphetamine, 2 pounds of cocaine, 2 ounces of heroin, 122 grams of fentanyl, $37,000 in drug proceeds and 24 firearms.

In November 2019, Mr. Jones was one of four defendants found guilty after a three week jury trial. Jones was convicted of the following federal offenses: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute controlled substances, distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute 5 grams or more of methamphetamine and heroin, felon in possession of a firearm, and laundering of monetary instruments.

This case was the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and the Kokomo Police Department.

DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Michael Gannon said, “The 35 year sentence for Mr. Jones was justice for the fine citizens of Kokomo. Mr. Jones was one of the most violent drug traffickers in the city of Kokomo and had an extensive criminal history. He used violence, fear and intimidation as a platform to feed his illegal activities. This long prison sentence allows the citizens of Kokomo to sleep better and puts all drug dealers on notice that DEA and their state, local and federal counterparts will utilize all resources available to hold violent offenders accountable. DEA thanks the Kokomo Police Department and the United States Attorney’s Office for their outstanding work.”

“The laundering of illegal drug proceeds is essential to finance these illegal organizations,” said Kathy Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation Chicago Field Office. “This 35-year sentence of Mr. Jones sends a strong message to the community that IRS Criminal Investigation will put in the work required to follow the money and bring these criminals to justice. IRS-CI is proud to have contributed our financial expertise to this investigation which has had a direct impact on the safety of the Kokomo community.”

“The Kokomo Police Department appreciates the hard work of our partners at the DEA and United States Attorney’s Office.” said Kokomo Police Department Captain Tonda Cockrell. “The dismantling of the Drug Trafficking Organization of Reggie Balentine, Michael Jones, and Pierre Riley had a significant effect on the Kokomo community. The sentences handed down by the federal courts has sent a clear message as to the impact of this criminal activity.”

In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its public safety challenges. This demonstrates the office’s firm commitment to target, investigate, and prosecute organizations that distribute methamphetamine and or heroin. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan Section 3.1, 3.3.

Updated July 16, 2020

Drug Trafficking