Get Down or Lay Down
Junior Black Mafia’s (JBM) Aaron Jones
By: Tiffany Chiles
He’s been called the “Black John Gotti,” not by his comrades or the people he did business with but by the people who were trying to crucify and execute him. Now there are a lot of young brothers out there (and sisters for that matter) who may think that being called the “Black John Gotti” is some kind of honor or “prop.” The reality is that this personification is what assisted in Aaron Jones receiving LIFE and DEATH from the United States of America. He’s alleged to be the founder of the “Junior Black Mafia” (J.B.M.). An organization that has been made out to be one of the most feared in the history of black organized crime in Philadelphia. Anybody and everybody living in hilly was talking about him and the J.B.M. During the mid 80’s and early 90’s. If you weren’t talking about them then you weren’t down. Everyone had their own version of things and most made it up as they went along, but everyone agreed that; “They were not to be fucked with. The J.B.M. had Philly on lock.” According to the Philadelphia Crime Commission, Aaron Jones and his associates built the J.B.M. into a violent multi-million-dollar drug organization that controlled all of Philadelphia between 1985 and 1991.
According to the newspapers and other media: It is alleged that the J.B.M. was comprised of 50 members and had up to 300 associates that were responsible for the sale of 100 to 300 kilos of cocaine generating between $10 and $30 million dollars a month. The J.B.M. assets included plenty of money, mansions, luxury cars, furs, jewelry and weapons. The J.B.M. was also linked to 33 legitimate businesses, such as, auto detail shops, barbershops and restaurants. It is rumored that the members of the J.B.M. were young, well-connected, street-smart hustlers with a no-nonsense approach to their business. It wasn’t until the guns began firing and the bodies began to drop that they began making newspaper headlines. The local gossips said the J.B.M. was in business 2 years, quietly amassing millions, before a local federal task force was formed to bring them down.
“Get Down or Lay Down”- simply put: join them or be killed-was their motto according to police. This was used to headline many stories done on Aaron Jones and the J.B.M. by the media and used by the prosecution to further substantiate their claim of unscrupulous violence.
AJ: The motto “Get down or lay down” is the police motto coming from suckers on the streets. No one ever went around telling people that or giving this ultimatum.
By 1989, the government associated 25 murders with the JBM. It was rumored that many of the alleged victims of the J.B.M. were rival dealers and anyone who “played” with their money. The rumors about their violent tactics soured; if you skimmed off the top, if you tried to become independent, if you threatened their business in any way you were “dealt” with. The J.B.M. had become so feared that survivors of alleged assassination attempts refused to testify against them in fear of their lives. An alleged J.B.M. member was arrested for possession of a handgun while in the courtroom where a government witness was set to testify against Aaron Jones for allegedly shooting him. The witness, who was confined to a wheelchair after being shot 10 times in the arm, hip, chest and face recanted his testimony (for the time being). After a grand jury investigation, Aaron was re-arrested and the witness testified at the preliminary hearing with a sheriff’s deputy standing between him and Jones to prevent eye contact.
Now this really sounds like these brothers were ballin’- right? They were definitely puttin’ their thing down, right? Now the trouble with all this information is that it came from government and media sources- who often exaggerate facts to justify the exorbitant amounts of money the government often spends investigating and prosecuting individuals. Let’s face it, it wouldn’t look good for the media to write a story about a drug dealer who was moving 1 kilo every month that the government spent thousands of man hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars to investigate- now would it? And, it would be politically damaging for the government to admit that they investigated a brother for years (spending hundreds of thousands of dollars) and were not able to get anything on them. I am not trying to imply that there is absolutely no truth in what has been written about Aaron Jones and the J.B.M. because, I don’t know! No one knows, but Aaron Jones and his real comrades- but over the last few years, it seems like everyone wants to write their story.
Don Diva contacted Aaron to set the record straight and give him an opportunity to tell his truth. While it seems everyone wants to tell stories of the evil streets and make confessions, Aaron being a true Don, was very hesitant.
AJ: ” I am very apprehensive about responding to your request… because you never know ones true intentions, ulterior motives behind things…So many people try to come at you with games, only to exploit you for financial purposes.”
There has been an explosion of books claiming to be about the “infamous” Aaron Jones and his comrades known as the J.B.M… all of which are unauthorized and very inaccurate according to Jones. AJ: ” I have nothing but contempt for the books written about me…. These so-called authors [are] trying to capture the psyche of my thing but all fall way short…you can’t get information from none of these books about me, because believe me they don’t have a clue.”
After overcoming his initial reluctance, Don Diva magazine is the first publication to interview Aaron, who is on death row in a maximum-security prison, to give his sentiments on his case and the game. I visited Aaron on Death Row in February 2000, and although doing interviews in jail is nothing new to me, it was a new experience. Stay tuned for part II “The Interview”