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Appeal helps woman cut prison time

LISBON — Tiona Jones, 38, the Warren woman who was the leader of a drug and crime ring doing business in the Salem area, pleaded guilty Friday to some of the charges she was facing and was immediately sentenced to six and a half years in prison.

This was the second time Jones had pleaded guilty to some of the charges in the case, but the prior time she appealed the decision by Judge Scott Washam who would not allow her to withdraw her plea prior to sentencing in 2018. After he had denied the motion to withdraw her plea, he had sentenced her at that time to 14 years in prison.

Jone’s appeal of Washams 2018 decision was upheld in the Seventh District Court of Appeals and she was allowed to withdraw her plea, sending the case back to Common Pleas Court again.

On Friday, Jones pleaded guilty a second time to engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, trafficking in heroin, trafficking in cocaine, complicity to felonious assault, complicity to aggravated burglary, intimidation of a witness to a criminal case, two counts of money laundering and four counts of conspiracy to trafficking in drugs.

The six and a half year sentence was an agreed stipulated plea between Assistant County Prosecutor Tammie Riley Jones and defense attorney Ross Smith. He called it a wonderful result for both sides, something attorney Jones agreed with following the hearing.

Because she has been incarcerated throughout, Jones was credited with 1,556 days of time already served, more than four years. In addition to prison time, Jones was fined $20,000 and ordered to forfeit a Lincoln Navigator and real estate in Galloway.

Also known as T, Jones was the one leading a gang of family members and acquaintances as they sold drugs, including heroin and cocaine; assaulted those who got in their way; and stole items from people and stores. Those who owed Jones money were reportedly ordered to steal what she wanted to pay her back. The case had led to eight people being charged in a 51-count indictment in connection to the gang’s activities, which Salem police had reported began in 2014.

The case was initially filed in 2016 and included 25 counts against Jones.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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