Reputed drug dealer accused of raping informant jumps bail

Oct 17, 2022, 1:39 AM | Updated: 1:42 pm

              FILE - This photo taken Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, shows the house in Alexandria, La., where a female informant on an undercover drug operation was allegedly raped as her law enforcement handlers left her on her own in January 2021. A reputed drug dealer accused of raping the police informant has skipped bail and was a no-show Monday, Oct. 17, 2022, at what was supposed to the start of his trial. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
            
              FILE - This photo provided by the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office in September 2022, shows Antonio D. Jones. The reputed drug dealer, accused of raping a woman police informant sent into his house alone in an unmonitored sting, has skipped bail and was a no-show Monday, Oct. 17, at what was supposed to the start of his trial. (Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

FILE - This photo provided by the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office in September 2022, shows Antonio D. Jones. The reputed drug dealer, accused of raping a woman police informant sent into his house alone in an unmonitored sting, has skipped bail and was a no-show Monday, Oct. 17, at what was supposed to the start of his trial. (Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

(Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) — A reputed drug dealer accused of raping a woman police informant sent into his house alone in an unmonitored sting has skipped bail and was a no-show Monday at what was supposed to the start of his trial.

Antonio D. Jones’ alleged attack in which he was caught on video forcing the woman to perform oral sex on him twice was reported in an Associated Press investigation last month that exposed the perils such informants can face seeking to “work off” criminal charges in often loosely regulated, secretive arrangements.

“I guess I need to address the elephant that’s not in the room,” Assistant District Attorney Brian Cespiva said during a brief court hearing, adding that federal marshals were actively searching for Jones and “he will be here eventually.”

Jones, a 48-year-old career criminal known as “Mississippi,” had attended previous hearings in the case but was discovered last week to have jumped his $70,000 bail and fled the central Louisiana area. Prosecutors told AP the amount of Jones’ bail had been “pre-set” and was not unreasonably low despite the violent nature of the charges and his extensive criminal history.

But Jones’ disappearance deepened the scandal over law enforcement’s handling of the case and their treatment of the informant, who was sent into the suspect’s dilapidated house in January 2021 to buy meth with hidden video recording equipment that could not be monitored by law enforcement handlers in real time.

“We’ve always done it this way,” Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Lt. Mark Parker, the ranking officer in the operation, told AP. “She was an addict and we just used her as an informant like we’ve done a million times before.”

Despite the woman’s cooperation and the alleged attack, she was still charged with possession of drug paraphernalia stemming from an arrest that happened about a month before the sting.

The informant, who declined interview requests and is not being named because the AP does not typically identify victims of sexual assault, is expected to testify against Jones if he is ever found.

The case turns in large part on the footage of the attack, which Jones’ own defense attorney argued was “extremely graphic” and too prejudicial to show to jurors, conceding it depicts “forced oral sex.”

According to interviews and confidential law enforcement records obtained by AP, the dealer threatened to put the crying woman “in the hospital” and even paused at one point during the attack to conduct a separate drug deal.

In court papers that baffled prosecutors, defense attorney Phillip M. Robinson even offered to stipulate that “Mr. Jones had specific intent to rape” the woman, contending it would be “difficult for a jury to maintain neutrality and non-bias” after viewing the “violent sexual intercourse.”

Prosecutor Cespiva told the AP that Jones’ charges were recently reduced from forcible second-degree rape to third-degree rape, or simple rape, to make a conviction more likely. He said prosecutors intend to seek consecutive 25-year terms on each count.

“We want to convict this guy” for the informant, said Rapides Parish District Attorney Phillip Terrell. “She wants this to be behind her.”

___

Contact AP’s global investigative team at Investigative@ap.org. Follow Jim Mustian on Twitter at @JimMustian.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A sign at Twitter headquarters is shown in San Francisco, Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chi...
David Klepper, Associated Press

Twitter ends enforcement of COVID misinformation policy

Twitter will no longer enforce its policy against COVID-19 misinformation, raising concerns among public health experts and social media researchers that the change could have serious consequences if it discourages vaccination and other efforts to combat the still-spreading virus. Eagle-eyed users spotted the change Monday night, noting that a one-sentence update had been made to […]
10 hours ago
This is a locator map for Pakistan with its capital, Islamabad, and the Kashmir region. (AP Photo)...
Associated Press

Explosion in northwest Pakistan coal mine kills 9, injures 4

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A methane gas explosion ripped through a coal mine in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday, killing nine miners and injuring four others, a government official said. The explosion happened in a remote area in Orakzai, a district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan, said Mohammad Arif, an adviser for the Mines […]
1 day ago
This photo provided by the Riverside Police Department shows Austin Lee Edwards, the suspect in a t...
Associated Press

Virginia cop posed as teen to groom, extort California girl

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A Virginia sheriff’s deputy posed as a 17-year-old online to groom and sexually extort a teenage girl in California before he killed her mother and grandparents and set fire to their home, authorities said Wednesday. Austin Lee Edwards, 28, was killed Friday in a shootout with San Bernardino sheriff’s deputies. The […]
1 day ago
FILE - David Shafer, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, arrives before Vice President Mike P...
Associated Press

Judge: GOP head can’t share lawyers with other fake electors

ATLANTA (AP) — The chairman of the Georgia Republican Party cannot share lawyers with 10 other fake electors in matters related to a special grand jury investigation into possible illegal meddling in the 2020 election in the state, a judge ruled Wednesday. A special grand jury was seated earlier this year to aid the investigation […]
1 day ago
Arizona Coyotes right wing Clayton Keller skates with the puck before scoring an empty-net goal aga...
Associated Press

Tempe council approves Arizona Coyotes’ new arena proposal

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The Tempe City Council has unanimously approved a proposal for a new Arizona Coyotes arena and entertainment district, clearing the way for a public vote on the project next year. The City Council approved the proposal 7-0 late Tuesday night after a lengthy meeting that included NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. The […]
1 day ago
FILE - Maria Kolesnikova, one of Belarus' opposition leaders, gestures during a rally in Minsk, Bel...
Associated Press

Imprisoned Belarusian activist undergoes surgery

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — A prominent member of the Belarusian opposition serving an 11-year prison sentence for helping stage anti-government protests had undergone an undisclosed surgical procedure, her father said Wednesday. Alexander Kolesnikov said his daughter, Maria Kolesnikova, remains in emergency care and that a doctor told him her condition has improved. The doctor didn’t […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Reputed drug dealer accused of raping informant jumps bail