In Louisiana, Missouri, the police chief was arrested on drug trafficking charges Thursday. After two men overdosed at his apartment.
The charges against William E. Jones are second-degree trafficking, possession of a controlled substance, and tampering with evidence. He is being held in lieu of $150,000 cash bail.
Having turned 50 last month, Jones became chief of the Louisiana Police Department in December 2020.
Methamphetamines and fentanyl were found in Jones’ apartment Tuesday, along with scales and other drug paraphernalia. Jones is charged with tampering with evidence for allegedly throwing evidence in a dumpster before police arrived.
As a result of Jones’ arrest and the suspension of at least one other officer, the town of 3,200 residents now has only two full-time officers and one part-time officer patrolling the streets.
“This caught us off guard,” Rodney Dolbeare, member of the Louisiana City Council, said Thursday.
Two people at City Hall referred a reporter’s questions to Louisiana Mayor Tim Carter, however the mayor could not be reached.
The authorities also charged Alexis J. Thone, Jones’ girlfriend. She was charged with drug trafficking and drug possession and her bail was set at $100,000.
In Louisiana, an off-duty police officer reported death at 2306 Kentucky Street just before 10 p.m. on Tuesday to Pike County 911 dispatch. According to court documents, Burns Forsythe, an off-duty Louisiana police officer, made the call.
In a master bedroom upstairs, first responders discovered Thone’s brother, Gabriel Thone, dead on the floor. He was 24 years old.
Paramedics revived a second brother, 21, in a guest bedroom who was in respiratory distress. Paramedics used Narcan, a medication that can reverse the effects of opioid overdoses.
According to court documents, Jones was in the guest bedroom with his younger brother, who was leasing the apartment. During the investigation, deputies asked Jones if the man had overdosed, and Jones “shrugged his shoulders and gave an unsure answer,” according to Genia Calvin, a Pike County Sheriff’s Office deputy. Calvin said the man had survived an overdose for the second time in a month. Post-Dispatch reports that a month ago he was found unresponsive outside an apartment block away.
The Thone brothers were visiting for the weekend, Jones told police. He had just arrived home two hours before police were called. Jones had not seen either brother since 9 a.m. Tuesday and hadn’t seen him since. When Alexis Thone found her brother dead, she yelled for Jones and off-duty officer Forsythe to get help.
Despite knowing her brothers were using drugs, Alexis Thone did not know where they obtained the drugs; Jones claimed he did not know illicit drugs were being used in the home, according to court documents.
There was no defense lawyer listed in online court documents for Jones on Thursday.
Neither Jones nor Thone were arrested in their apartment Tuesday night. In a traffic stop on Ashley Street on the southern edge of Louisiana about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, prosecutors weighed the evidence and issued an arrest warrant. “There was no resistance,” Korte said. Police found opiates in the car after a police dog detected drugs.
It appears Louisiana, although understaffed, will continue to patrol its city alone for now, Korte said. His own sheriff’s office has staffing issues, too, with only eight deputies patrolling a 670 square mile county due to budget constraints. No one has asked him to patrol Louisiana.
“No evidence was presented to us previously that there was any validity to the rumors,” Korte said of Jones’ drug involvement.
“There’s a little bit of a pattern of not the best work history,” Korte said of Jones’ past experiences as an assistant warden at the women’s state prison in Vandalia.
Nearly two years ago, Dolbeare, a city councilman who spoke to the Post-Dispatch, was on the council that hired Jones.
Dolbeare said he was hired and the impressions were positive. “Right now we can’t say much because it’s still very new.”
As Dolbeare said, Jones was put on paid leave prior to Wednesday’s arrest at the mayor’s discretion.
Despite being booked into the Pike County Jail, Jones was transferred to a Lincoln County cell for safety reasons.
Several conditions have been set by the judge for Jones’ release from jail if he posts bail. The bail conditions stipulate that he cannot go on city property, have contact with Alexis Thone or her surviving brother, or have a gun or any other weapon. He must be monitored by a GPS device and undergo random drug tests.