Man at center of GPS case pleads guilty to drug charge

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Local,DC,Crime,Naomi Jagoda

The man at the center of a U.S. Supreme Court decision about GPS tracking pleaded guilty to a drug-conspiracy charge Wednesday and was sentenced to a 15-year prison term.

The resolution to Antoine Jones' case comes after he was tried three times in D.C. federal court. Jones has been behind bars since October 2005, and he is being given credit for the time he has already served, prosecutors said.

In pleading guilty, Jones, 53, admitted that he was part of a conspiracy to distribute cocaine in D.C. and Maryland from late 2003 to October 2005. He was accountable for up to 330 pounds of cocaine that was distributed by himself and others.

Jones would acquire kilograms (2.2 pounds) of cocaine from a group of Mexican nationals that had shipped the drug into the D.C. area. He would then either sell kilos of the drug himself or he would divide the cocaine into smaller amounts and provide it to dealers, according to court documents.

One place that Jones traveled to in order to receive the drug was a house in Fort Washington. In October 2005, law enforcement found nearly 220 pounds of cocaine and more than $844,000 in U.S. currency, there, court documents stated.

Prior to pleading guilty, Jones was tried three times in this case. The jury in his first trial deadlocked on the drug-conspiracy charge in 2007. The jury in Jones' second trial convicted him, and he was sentenced to life in prison.

But a federal appeals court overturned Jones' conviction, and the Supreme Court affirmed the appeals court's decision in January 2012 -- finding fault with the fact that law enforcement had put a GPS device in Jones' Jeep without a valid warrant.

Jones then had a third trial earlier this year and represented himself during the proceedings. The jury in this trial also deadlocked. Prior to the guilty plea, prosecutors had said that they intended to try Jones a fourth time.

Jones is the 11th and final person to be convicted for their roles in the narcotics conspiracy, prosecutors said.

"For all the courtroom drama over the last eight years, at the end of the day, Jones's fate will be the same as the hundreds of other drug dealers we have prosecuted in recent years," the District's U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

njagoda@washingtonexaminer.com

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Naomi Jagoda

Staff reporter
The Washington Examiner