Crime

Gulfport man gets probation, fine in Xanax, steroid distribution case

DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION DEA agents in South Mississippi seized performance enhancing anabolic steriods as part of a drug conspiracy investigation in Gulfport.
DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION DEA agents in South Mississippi seized performance enhancing anabolic steriods as part of a drug conspiracy investigation in Gulfport.

GULFPORT -- A Gulfport man will serve two years on probation for failing to report a drug conspiracy involving the anti-anxiety drug Xanax and muscle-building steroids.

U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett sentenced Joshua Jones in U.S. District Court in Hattiesburg on Thursday, also ordering him to pay a $2,000 fine in a case in which he also admitted allowing others to use his personal information in a money laundering scheme to hide the drug proceeds.

Jones was one of four indicted in the case, but charges were dismissed against two of the suspects.

A fourth suspect, Robert Benjamin Jones, 28, of Gulfport, was fined $5,000 for laundering money and conspiracy to distribute alprazolam, the generic for Xanax, and possession of an unregistered firearm, a sawed-off shotgun. The judge gave Robert Jones credit for time served at his July sentencing and added three years of probation. He has been in custody for nearly three years.

All four were arrested in a federal investigation of drug distribution and firearms crimes in Harrison County from January to October 2012.

Gulfport narcotics officers first arrested Robert Benjamin Jones in October 2012 during a search of his home on 41st Street. Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive assisted in the investigation.

According to the criminal complaint filed in federal court, authorities seized about 2,400 alprazolam pills, $32,000, five weapons, an unknown powder and a 2004 Ford F-150 pickup from Robert Benjamin Jones' home.

One of the firearms seized at the home was a semiautomatic rifle.

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