Philadelphia couple charged with drug sales at Kind of Prussia Mall

UPPER MERION >> A Philadelphia couple has been arrested and charged with multiple drug violations following an operation conducted by the Montgomery County Detective Bureau Narcotics Enforcement Team.

According to arresting affidavits, James K. Jones, 34 and Mercedes Jones, 29, both of the 4000 block of Greeby Street, were taken into custody after allegedly selling heroin to an undercover agent and attempting to exchange heroin for Percocet and cash with the officer at the King of Prussia Mall.

The events that led to the arrests began on June 20, when a detective was contacted by a man calling himself “Miz.” The caller was referred by a confidential informant who told him the detective was a good heroin customer.

The detective arranged for an initial purchase of seven bundles, each containing 13 bags of heroin, for $500. The transaction took place in the seller’s car in a parking lot at the mall on the morning of June 21 under the watchful of eyes of county surveillance units. The vehicle, detectives found, was registered to James K. Jones.

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The suspected heroin was placed into evidence, and investigators obtained Jones’ driver’s license photo to confirm his identity.

According to the affidavits, Jones was found to have prior arrests for drugs, robbery and related offenses.

On June 28, the criminal complaint says, detectives contacted Jones to set up another buy, this time for 10 bundles of heroin for $700.

While arranging the transaction, Jones reportedly asked the detective if he had access to Percocet and offered an exchange of heroin for the prescription pain medication.

The following day, the exchange was made with a woman, later identified as Mercedes Jones, in a different vehicle at the mall. The woman reportedly had a young child in the back seat while the transaction occurred, and the detective spoke with James Jones via Face Time to discuss the Percocet trade.

Through further conversations, the exchange of Percocets for heroin was arranged, again in a mall parking lot, for July 7. James Jones reportedly showed up accompanied by Mercedes Jones and the child.

The detective gave Jones 100 placebo Percocet pills and a $100 bill in exchange for a bag containing 20 bundles, or 260 bags of heroin.

Shortly after the transaction was complete, backup officers moved in and took the couple into custody.

Throughout the investigation, surveillance teams monitored the Joneses’ residence in Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania State Police procured search warrants for their home and vehicles. The serial numbers on all of the cash involved in the transactions was prerecorded by authorities.

A search of the Joneses’ residence turned up 193 bags of heroin and various drug packaging, paraphernalia, and documents, the complaint said.

Both Joneses face multiple counts of manufacture, delivery or possession of a controlled substance, endangering the welfare of children and related offenses.

Neither was able to post $100,000 bail and they remain behind bars at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility with preliminary hearings scheduled for Aug. 11.