Former Little Rock cop Mark Anthony Jones, 46, was sentenced today to 104 months in prison for taking money to serve as an escort to what he believed were shipments of marijuana through the city. He and his brother, also a Little Rock, officer, were under surveillance in a sting operation.
Jones had entered a plea agreement. His brother, Randall Robinson, was convicted earlier on a marijuana charge, but a mistrial was declared on other charges. He’ll be retried in the spring. According to the government, they provided escort in marked patrol cars and failed to respond to a shooting report while at the task in March 2012.
The government’s statement follows.
Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas; Randall C. Coleman, Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and Stuart Thomas, Chief of the Little Rock Police Department, announced Mark Anthony Jones, age 46 of Little Rock was sentenced by United States District Judge James M. Moody to 104 months in federal prison to be followed by four years of supervised release. Jones was immediately taken into United States Marshal custody following the sentencing.
“As I said when Jones was arrested, we owe it to this community and, more importantly, to the upstanding individuals who wear the badge of the LRPD to hold those who break the law accountable for their actions,” stated Thyer. “This case was carefully investigated and the facts speak for themselves. Jones’ choice to sell his career for cash is disheartening. My hope is, this sentence will serve notice to all other law enforcement officers that disregard of the law will result in prosecution. No one is above the law. To those who valiantly serve with integrity, I applaud you and thank you for your service.”
“The sentence imposed today sends a strong message to anyone in law enforcement who would betray his or her oath to protect and serve the public,” stated Acting FBI Special Agent in Charge Howard S. Marshall. “The vast majority of us who respect the badges we wear and who are committed to public service will band together to aggressively investigate these egregious, criminal activities. In many of these investigations, they start with a tip from a concerned citizen. We are grateful for those who come forward to report corruption to us and we continue to encourage people to do so.”
Chief Thomas added, “I hope the message is clear that allegations of corruption will be diligently investigated and prosecuted. The men and women of this Department who participated in this difficult and demanding investigation demonstrated professionalism, integrity, and confidentiality to the highest degree. This Department is appreciative our partnership with the United States Attorney’s Office and the Little Rock Office of the FBI which, without hesitation, provided the resources and expertise necessary to fully investigate this matter and ultimately bring it to a successful conclusion today.”
Jones was arrested May 24, 2013 and pled guilty June 28, 2013, to one count of attempting to aid and abet the possession with intent to distribute approximately 1,000 pounds of marijuana.
The facts in the Plea Agreement state that Jones had been a policeman with the Little Rock Police Department since 1988. Early in 2012, Jones traveled with a Confidential Informant (CI) to Los Angeles, California to meet the informant’s purported supplier of marijuana. During dinner, the supplier (who was actually an undercover FBI agent) and Jones engaged in recorded conversation about marijuana loads being brought into Little Rock. After returning from California, the CI contacted Jones regarding a truckload of 1,000 pounds of marijuana coming into Little Rock. Jones was asked to and agreed to provide security for this load. He recruited his brother, another LRPD officer to be the 2nd escort to protect against an arrest by other law enforcement.
On March 22, 2012, Jones and his brother provided the protection while driving marked patrol cars. The delivery was divided in two vans of a purported quantity of approximately 500 pounds of marijuana in each van. The FBI set-up surveillance of the activities including aerial surveillance. The facts state that during the time Jones and his brother provided the escort, they “overheard on their police radio a call for shots fired near their location. They were the officers closest to the shooting, but did not respond because they were following the vans.” Jones didn’t respond to the call until he had completed the escort of the vans – approximately one hour later.
Jones was audio and video recorded by the FBI later that day meeting with the CI who paid him $10,000 in cash for the escort – $5,000 for Jones and $5,000 for his brother.
On July 15, 2013, Jones’ brother, Randall Tremayne Robinson, was found guilty of Count 3 of the Superseding Indictment for distribution of marijuana in August of 2009. The jury hung on all other counts. A second Superseding Indictment was filed August 7, 2013. The trial has been set for March 17, 2014 before United States District Judge James L. Moody. An indictment contains only allegations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This investigation was conducted by the Little Rock Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in cooperation with, and with substantial support from, the Little Rock Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Pat Harris and Anne Gardner have prosecuted this case for the United States.