Eight-time Alabama felon found with drugs, machine gun has his day in court; here’s what happened

Published 10:22 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2024

An Alabama man convicted of violent felonies eight times in the past was in court again this week to face another round of allegations and face his future.

The man was convicted of drug conspiracy, possessing bulk marijuana with intent to distribute it, possessing an illegally modified machinegun in furtherance of drug-trafficking crimes, illegally possessing firearms as an eight-time convicted violent felon, and illegally possessing an unregistered machinegun.

He was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

According to court documents and evidence presented at a December 2023 trial, Hassan D. Jones, 25, conspired with several individuals to distribute bulk marijuana in the Mobile area and elsewhere from at least March 2021 through February 2023. In May 2021, deputy sheriffs in Louisiana arrested Jones and two of his coconspirators following a traffic stop of a car they were using to return to Mobile from a drug pickup in Houston, Texas. In the car, police found a loaded Glock pistol equipped with an extended magazine, marijuana, promethazine syrup, and more than $5,000 in cash.

In February 2023, narcotics detectives with the Mobile Police Department executed a search warrant at Jones’s apartment in Eight Mile. During the search, detectives seized, among other things, four pounds of vacuum-sealed bulk marijuana, two loaded Glock pistols equipped with extended magazines, and two of Jones’s cell phones. One of the pistols was equipped with a machinegun-conversion device, commonly known as a “Glock switch,” which illegally converted the semiautomatic pistol into a fully automatic machinegun.

A DNA expert located Jones’s DNA on the Glock pistols seized from his apartment. Jones’s phones and social media accounts contained dozens of videos, photos, and messages regarding Jones’s drug dealing and his illegal possession of firearms, including illegally-modified machineguns.

In addition to the 45-year prison sentence, Chief United States District Judge Jeffrey U. Beaverstock ordered Jones to serve a five-year term of supervised release upon his release from prison, during which time he will undergo drug testing and treatment and will receive mental health evaluation and treatment. The court did not impose a fine, but Chief Judge Beaverstock ordered Jones to pay $500 in special assessments.

“Illegal machineguns and machinegun-conversion devices continue to wreak havoc in our community and across the nation. In the hands of armed drug dealers and violent felons, such weapons present an even greater risk,” said U.S. Attorney Sean P. Costello. “Today’s sentence sends a clear message: our office, working alongside our tireless federal, state, and local partners, will not tolerate it.”

“This sentence is a direct message to career criminals that law enforcement is observant and will not allow egregious violations of our laws to go unpunished,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Marcus Watson. “ATF and our law enforcement partners will remain on the frontline in our continuing effort to combat violent crime, maintain public safety, and remove criminals who continuously show total disregard for the law.”

Mobile Police Department Chief Paul O. Prine said, “I am pleased with the federal conviction of Hassan D. Jones. The collaboration with our federal partners and their willingness to prosecute those violent and repeat offenders shows their resolve and commitment to working with the Mobile Police Department in making our community safe. Mr. Jones’s incarceration no doubt will have an impact on our community by not trafficking drugs or possessing weapons that can cause mass casualties.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Mobile Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin Roller and Jessica Terrill prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.