The Warren woman believed to have been the leader of a drug trafficking ring in Salem received her punishment in court on Thursday.
Tiona Jones was sentenced to 14 years in prison on 28 charges. She pleaded guilty to:
- Engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity
- Trafficking in heroin
- Trafficking in cocaine
- Money laundering
- Conspiracy to trafficking
- Complicity to felonious assault
- Complicity to aggravated burglary
- Intimidation of a witness in a criminal case
Police say Jones started selling drugs in Salem in 2014 and quickly had a group of eight others helping her, including her 84-year-old grandmother.
“I don’t want to suggest that the arrest and conviction of Tiona Jones has solved the opioid problem in Salem, but it certainly has made the community safer and, we believe, had a positive effect for the community,” said Columbiana County Assistant Prosecutor John Gamble.
Detectives say Jones brought opioids into Salem and when someone owed her money, she forced them to steal for her.
The group is also accused of committing several burglaries in Salem.
Gamble said the evidence shows that Jones directed others to violently assault addicts.
After a thousand hours of police work, officers were finally able to make the arrests.
“Immediately upon the arrest and the incarceration of herself and the others involved with her enterprise, the drug offenses and the incidents of property crimes — and particularly the assaults — came to a complete halt,” Gamble said.
Out of the eight co-defendants, four are set for trial on August 24. The other four pleaded guilty.