Suburban man mailed 30 pounds of meth to Chicago and the burbs, feds say

A gym bag containing nearly 30 pounds of crystal meth and a stolen assault rifle with a 50-round ammunition magazine were seized during the raid, officials said. (U.S. District Court records)

CHICAGO — Agents who raided a suburban Chicago apartment on Tuesday found nearly 30 pounds of methamphetamine in a gym bag, balloons filled with MDMA, and a stolen assault rifle, according to a federal criminal complaint.

Vern Jones, who rented the apartment in Chicago Ridge, had been under investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and other agencies since last September, according to the complaint.

Investigators focused on Jones after learning that he shipped and received crystal meth via the U.S. mail, officials said. Earlier this month, he mailed several packages containing suspected narcotics from California to Chicago and the suburbs, the complaint said.

On July 5, he and his associates allegedly picked up the parcels from the city and suburbs and transported them to an apartment in Chicago Ridge.

Agents raided the apartment at 8:34 a.m. Tuesday, minutes after U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez authorized a search warrant.

The agents briefly spotted him in the home but eventually found him hanging from his third-floor bedroom window, the complaint said.

Officials said a search of the bedroom yielded a gym bag containing Ziploc bags filled with a material “similar to glass shards.” The material, weighing 29.8 pounds, tested positive in the field for the presence of methamphetamine, the complaint said.

Directly above the gym bag, agents found a loaded, stolen assault rifle equipped with a 50-round drum magazine, according to the complaint.

Agents allegedly found black balloons and two plastic shopping bags filled with white powder in the kitchen. Those tested positive for MDMA, the complaint said.

Jones “admitted to recently traveling to California to purchase and ship methamphetamine,” according to the complaint. He is charged with one count of possessing a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

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Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com