Indianapolis – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today, Reggie M. Balentine, 43, Kokomo, Ind., and Perry O. Jones, 45, Kokomo, Ind. were sentenced for their role in a large drug trafficking ring operating in Kokomo, Ind. Balentine was sentenced to 504 months in federal prison and Jones was sentenced to 260 months in federal prison.
“Shutting this drug trafficking organization down was a big victory for the law abiding citizens of Kokomo and the entire Hoosier state.” said Minkler. Investigations like this where drug dealers are arrested, held without bond, convicted at trial and sentenced to a lengthy federal prison sentence will restore some peace to the citizens of Kokomo.”
From the fall of 2017 to May 1, 2018, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Indianapolis District Office, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation, and the Kokomo Police Department conducted an extensive investigation that resulted in the federal arrest of 15 Kokomo, Indiana residents including Balentine and Jones.
The investigation revealed that Balentine was coordinating drug shipments from co-conspirator, Pierre Riley, in Atlanta, GA for further distribution in the Kokomo area by Michael Jones, who was earlier sentenced to 35 years, as well as other co-conspirators, to include his roommate, Perry Jones. Balentine would utilize female couriers to travel between Kokomo and Georgia to deliver controlled substances to Balentine and deliver drug proceeds to his supplier Pierre Riley in Georgia. These couriers would travel by bus or vehicle to complete this task.
Throughout the conspiracy, many of the conspirators possessed firearms in relation to their drug trafficking activities, in order to protect themselves, their drugs, and their drug proceeds. Investigators were also able to arrest two hitmen that were hired by the organization to travel from Atlanta, Georgia to Kokomo to murder a Kokomo resident.
During the investigation, agents seized approximately 17 pounds of methamphetamine, 2 pounds of cocaine, 2 ounces of heroin, 122 grams of fentanyl, $37,000 in drug proceeds and 24 firearms.
In October 2019, Balentine plead guilty to the following federal offenses: conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute controlled substances, distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, conspiracy to use interstate commerce in the commission of murder-for-hire, felon in possession of a firearm, attempted possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.
Jones also plead guilty to the following federal offenses: conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute controlled substances, felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of a firearm as a previously convicted felon.
This case was the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and the Kokomo Police Department.
DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Michael Gannon said, “The 42 year sentence for Mr. Balentine and the 21 year sentence of Mr. Jones is a big win for the fine citizens of Kokomo. Mr. Balentine headed a violent drug trafficking organization that utilized fear and violence to fuel the illicit distribution of methamphetamine, fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine in the Kokomo area. The DEA and their local, state, and federal partners are committed to targeting the most violent individuals who are wreaking havoc in our communities. Mr. Balentine was clearly that person.
According to Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Brady, who prosecuted this case for the government, Balentine must also serve five years of supervised release and Jones must serve ten years supervised release following their sentence.
In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution sentencing demonstrates the office’s firm commitment to target, investigate, and prosecute organizations that distribute methamphetamine and or heroin. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan Sections 3.1 and 3.3