Born and raised in the mean streets of Baltimore, a city famous for its culture of drugs and murder, Anthony “AJ” Jones embarked on a reign of terror that the city had never seen before and has never seen since. In the violent world of Bodymore’s inner city drug gangs, at the young age of 18, Anthony Jones reigned king. Holding court in East Baltimore’s gritty neighborhoods and holding fast to his thuglife ideals of “get mine or be mine.”
The most feared drug dealer and gangster in Charm City, AJ allegedly ordered murders from his prison cell. He was a boss in every sense of the word, from the streets of his hood to the federal penitentiaries. His reputation of being willing to kill anyone who stood in his way was demonstrated by the fact that AJ reputedly had his own brother killed because he believed that he was snitching on him. AJ played the game the way it was supposed to be played, as long generations of B-More hustlers had before him, but with his own vicious twist. He will forever be remembered in B-More as the legend that he is.
Part 5- The Beef
AJ was locking shit down but not everyone bowed down. Dudes were still willing to get theirs, AJ’s reputation or not. AJ was still flesh and blood, no matter how menacing he was. Elway Williams was an East Baltimore dealer with a $15,000 a day heroin ring that prosecutors said competed against Jones. Instead of sharing the market, AJ and Elway decided to battle it out, turning East Baltimore into a killing zone. The beef which started out as a death for death retribution type-thing, quickly spiraled out of control, turning into a murderous web between the warring drug organizations, where victory or death became the only options. “You had love from both sides,” Sweat says. “But that shit turned into a snowball flip. The beef started over some foolishness. Both Anthony and Elway had egos. Anthony was quiet, but vicious and Elway thought he was Al Capone. He was a Bumpy Johnson wanna-be type nigga. And he didn’t think Anthony had it in him, but he found out.” Elway would lock horns with AJ in a battle to the death. May the victor win all the spoils and be crowned the king of East Baltimore.
“It was always a twist to that.” Sweat says. “Who was gonna be the king of East Baltimore? They was playing for keeps. They was going back and forth. It was some jealous type shit. They were trying to get each other.” And in this environment of fear and suspicion, bravedo and one-upmanship, retribution and death were swift. “The streets make you. They say who the boss is. Both Elway and Ant’s ego’s were bigger than their pride.” Sweat concludes. Assistant United States Attorney Christine Manuelian said that the Jones and Williams groups frequently battled on city streets. “There are a number of murders that have been allegedly linked to both organizations,” she said. In East Baltimore the bullets were flying. It wasn’t Beirut, but it was close. The deadly dance was played out with Mac 10’s, minu Uzi’s and sawed off shotguns.
Describing the duel of drug kingpins that created a climate of kill or be killed, AJ’s rival, the heroin dealer Elway testified that he was in a race against time to assassinate his nemesis who was allegedly intent on killing him. “He was out to assassinate all of us. We had to fix the problem and the problem was Anthony Jones. We had to continue to search to assassinate him. It was either they kill us or we kill them.” Elway testified after becoming a prosecution snitch. He testified that no show of strength- he frequently had armed bodyguards protecting him- seemed to be able to ward off Jones’ attempts to assassinate him. AJ was on a mission. And he was trying to win at all costs. It was like 50 Cent said, get rich or die trying.
“It was all dudes from East Baltimore,” Kid says of the beef. It started in early 95 when Baby Dan and AJ formed an alliance against Elway. AJ killed Elway’s partner and his former running mate Anthony Green first. On October 3, 1995, AJ was shot in the arm. “The second time he was shot was when Elway put the hit on him.” Kid says. And Sweat goes into more detail, “Anthony told me, he said he came out some house and somebody tried to assassinate him. His man was there with the car to pick him up and when the shots started busting off and Anthony got hit, he jumped on the back of the car to get away. While he was in John Hopkins Hospital they got his man Little Net. This was the breaking point. Elway was the one he was beefing with and the whole thing with this was when Tupac killed Little Net for Elway and didn’t get AJ too, he basically signed his own death warrant.”
Raymund “Tupac” Harrison admitted to the killing on October 5th, 1995 of Deshane “Little Net” Carter, Jones’ right hand man, who was gunned down on East Madison Street. Tupac said it was done to avenge the slaying earlier that year of Anthony Green, Elway’s partner. Harrison said during his guilty plea that Little Net was thought by Elway to have been the trigger man in the Green killing. After AJ was shot up and Little Net killed, Elway was profiling like he was the king of East Baltimore. “He was at 32nd Street Plaza, when we got over there, Elway’s sitting at the bar. He tells the bartender all drinks on me. I noticed he was celebrating because they killed shorty. I was wondering what was running through Anthony’s mind. When Elway left, his sky blue 735 BMW pulled up front of the club. Tupac opened the door for him like he was a don.” Sweat says. But Elway slept on AJ, who recovered, planned and had his revenge six months later.
AJ coerced three teenage members of Elway’s crew to cross their boss and kill him so that AJ wouldn’t kill them. On February 26, 1996, the double cross went down. The three dudes opened fire on Elway and his bodyguard while they were sitting in the car with him. From the back seat they put a bullet in the bodyguard’s head and then started firing on Elway who was in a car adjacent to them on a dark portion of Wilcox and Biddle Streets in East Baltimore. Derrick Rivers, the bodyguard was fatally shot in the back of the head. Elway said the three men were Alan “Wali” Chapman, Warren “Red Dog” Hill and Mark “Keedy” Coles. He said they turned against him in favor of AJ. “I could smell the gunfire,” Elway said remembering how he jumped out of the car wounded and ran into the cold night down the dimly lit street. “I heard footsteps behind me and six, seven, eight gunshots. I was hit two or three times in the chest and back.” Elway ran to a home on nearby Valley Street, knocked on the door and collapsed after a woman let him inside. He spent nearly three weeks recuperating at a medical center where Jones was alleged to have made the next attempt to get him.
“This what they did,” Sweat says. “That’s how they brought them down. Double crossing. Anthony told me when the dudes came to make the deal, ‘You want to make it right? You want to kill Elway?’ He was gonna use them to kill Elway and then kill them. He was on the double cross. You got to like his style. He was vicious. Much love to that nigga. I almost got caught up in that bullshit. When Elway got to beefin’ with Anthony, Elway got in a bind, he was fucked up. I gave him a couple of bricks. I didn’t want to get in the mix. He called me, we breaking shit down at the stash, he was like where you at? The day he called me he was with those little kids, the ones who shot him. I never got with them, that was the day the double cross was in. They pumped three or four bullets through the window to kill him. I could have been caught up in that foolishness. We lost a lot of good people. It was going both ways. You didn’t know who was who. People were taking money for hits.”
And AJ took it a step further. He wanted Elway dead, so he turned to his corrupt cop to kidnap Elway from his hospital bed. AJ offered the cop 5 grand for info on Elway’s whereabouts and offered 10 grand to the cop to arrest Elway and turn him over to his crew. He even attempted to get one of his crew to sneak into the hospital with a hypodermic needle full of Drano to inject into Elway’s veins. AJ was gangster for real. Court papers filed in U.S. District Court accused AJ of conspiring to have his rival, Elway Williams, kidnapped from his hospital bed by having him falsely arrested and turned over to Mr. Jones. But the cop didn’t do it and Elway, 29, was arrested and charged with selling heroin. At a later bail hearing U.S. Magistrate Paul M. Rosenburg said about Mr. Jones, “One can only assume that the kidnapping was for the purpose of an execution or to inflict substantial harm to the individual.” And before it was all over, AJ probably regretted that the hospital bed kidnap move didn’t go down, because Elway would turn into a snitch and the star witness against him.
This is an excerpt from Street Legends. If you want to read the rest order the book right now.