United States District Court, D. Columbia
December 29, 2005.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
ANTOINE JONES, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: ELLEN HUVELLE, District Judge
Defendant Antoine Jones, along with eight others, has been
charged in a single-count indictment with conspiracy to
distribute and possession with intent to distribute large
quantities of cocaine and cocaine base in violation of
21 U.S.C. § 846, which is an offense punishable by ten years to life.
21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A)(iii). At the government's request, a
detention hearing was held before Magistrate Judge Deborah A.
Robinson on October 28, 2005, at which time she ordered Jones
held without bond pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 3142(e). On December
19, 2005, the defendant filed a motion under 18 U.S.C. § 3145(b)
to review the magistrate's order and to obtain release pending
trial. The government filed an opposition the same day and, in
response to the Court's request at the December 19, 2005 status
conference, filed a supplemental opposition on December 27, 2005.
The Court, having reviewed the defendant's motion and the
government's opposition and supplemental opposition, finds that
no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure
the safety of the community. See id. § 3142(e). The Court
therefore affirms the magistrate's decision and orders that Mr.
Jones be detained pending trial. DISCUSSION
Under the Bail Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3141 et. seq., a
judicial officer "shall order" the detention of a defendant
before trial if, after a hearing, "the judicial officer finds
that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably
assure the appearance of the person as required and the safety of
any other person and the community." Id. § 3142(e). This
determination is to be made based on a consideration of four
factors: (1) the "nature and circumstances of the offense
charged, including whether the offense . . . involves a narcotic
drug;" (2) "the weight of evidence against the person;" (3) "the
history and characteristics of the person," including such facts
as the individual's character, employment, family and community
ties, use of alcohol or drugs, and criminal history; and (4) "the
nature and seriousness of the danger to any person or the
community that would be posed by the person's release." Id. §
3142(g). While the government is generally required to
demonstrate the appropriateness of pretrial detention by clear
and convincing evidence, id. § 3142(f)(2), this burden does not
apply in all cases. Where "the judicial officer finds that there
is probable cause to believe that the person committed an offense
for which a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years or more is
prescribed in the Controlled Substances Act," 21 U.S.C. § 801
et. seq., it is to be presumed that no set of conditions would
be sufficient to reasonable assure the defendant's appearance and
the community's safety. Id. This presumption is subject to
rebuttal by the defendant. Id.
The Court finds that there is probable cause to believe Mr.
Johnson was part of a conspiracy to distribute and possess with
intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base a violation of
the Controlled Substance Act punishable by a maximum term of life
imprisonment, see id. § 841(b)(1)(A)(iii), thus raising a
rebuttable presumption that no condition or set of conditions
will reasonably assure his appearance or the community's safety
under 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e). The evidence that Jones was the ringleader of a
large-scale international drug distribution conspiracy is
compelling. A traffic stop in North Carolina on April 5, 2005, of
a vehicle registered to Jones and driven by his associate
Lawrence Maynard resulted in the discovery by police of
$67,115.00 in cash that was hidden in a secret compartment.
Extensive wire interception of Jones's cellular telephone
conversations from September 2, 2005 through October 24, 2005
revealed conversations in which Jones discussed, in coded
language, the purchase and sale of cocaine. The government
intercepted conversations during the third week of October, 2005,
in which Jones indicated that the "party," a drug shipment, was
to happen on Friday, October 21, 2005. An early morning search on
October 24, 2005 led to the confiscation of 97 kilograms of
cocaine, three kilograms of crack cocaine, and over $800,000 in
cash from a stash house in Ft. Washington, Maryland. Over
$69,000.00 in cash was discovered in Jones's jeep and wholesale
quantities of drugs were found at other locations. In addition,
Jones' prior criminal record includes two prior convictions for
bribery of a public official and the sale of cocaine. In light of
this evidence, the factors listed in 18 U.S.C. § 3142 strongly
favor pretrial detention in order to ensure the safety of the
The Court hereby denies defendant's Motion and affirms the
detention order of Magistrate Judge Robinson. In accordance with
18 U.S.C. § 3142(i), the Court directs that Mr. Johnson remain in
the custody of the Attorney General for confinement in a
corrections facility pending trial.
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