Patriots cornerback Jack Jones will likely be arraigned Tuesday on charges that he had two loaded firearms in his carry-on luggage at Logan Airport on Friday, officials said Monday as one of his teammates offered words of support on social media.
Jones could face decades in prison if convicted and sentenced consecutively on all counts, authorities said.
“If he were convicted and sentenced consecutively on each charge, he’d face more than 30 years in prison,” said James Borghesani, a spokesperson for Suffolk District Attorney Kevin R. Hayden’s office.
It is rare for judges to issue consecutive sentences, as opposed to concurrent penalties.
Courthouses were closed Monday in observance of Juneteenth, so Jones likely will be arraigned Tuesday in East Boston Municipal Court, according to Hayden’s office.
Jones’s agent didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment.
Jones, 25, is charged with two counts each of possession of a concealed weapon in a secure area of an airport, possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card, unlawful possession of a firearm, carrying a loaded firearm, and possession of a large-capacity feeding device, according to State Police.
Officials said a trooper was called around 5:30 p.m. Friday to a security checkpoint at Terminal B after two guns were found in Jones’s carry-on luggage. He was booked at the Logan Airport barracks and bail was set at $50,000.
The guns were detected “during the routine X-ray screening of carry-on luggage” at the checkpoint, the Transportation Security Administration said in a statement, which didn’t identify Jones by name.
“Upon discovery of the firearm, TSA notified the Massachusetts State Police and they responded to the security checkpoint,” the agency said. “The traveler was questioned by law enforcement and subsequently arrested.”
Jones was “ticketed for travel to Los Angeles International Airport,” the TSA said.
Daniel S. Medwed, a law professor at Northeastern University, said such cases can present challenges for defense counsel.
“Unless there are some unusual circumstances that the defendant could claim, e.g. someone else packed his bag, I think most defense attorneys would try to pursue a plea bargain to resolve this case quickly, and for a punishment far short of the maximum sentence,” Medwed said by e-mail.
“The government is not required to offer a plea deal, of course, but often does so in order to preserve resources and negate the risk of going to trial. Even in a case with strong evidence of guilt, there is always a chance of a holdout juror and that could produce a mistrial.”
Christopher Dearborn, a law professor at Suffolk University and defense attorney, said by phone the maximum penalties for the charges Jones faces include 2½ years in jail or five years in state prison on each of the concealed gun counts. The latter penalty would be in play only if the case was adjudicated in Suffolk Superior Court, Dearborn said.
He said the ammunition possession counts both carry maximum penalties of 2½ years, and the large capacity feeding device counts carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 2½ years and a maximum term of 10 years.
“It’s not unusual for the Suffolk County DA’s office to not indict [on the large capacity charge, in an effort to] keep the case in Boston Municipal Court,” Dearborn said. “It’s possible that could happen in this case.”
Dearborn noted that unlawful possession of a firearm carries an 18-month minimum term in jail or a 2½-year mandatory minimum state prison sentence. The loaded firearm counts, Dearborn said, include 2½-year mandatory minimum sentences, which under Massachusetts law must be imposed consecutively to any sentence meted out for unlawful gun possession.
The most important question for Jones, Dearborn said, would be “is the DA going to indict this case or not? If they do, then there is a much different array of sentences.”
The guns brought the tally of firearms TSA has discovered in carry-on bags at Logan Airport this year to 10, according to the agency.
Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon, replying on Twitter to a post that noted Jones had recently criticized an NBA star involved in a gun controversy, said teammates hope things work out well for Jones.
“Don’t let someone’s low light be you own high light,” Judon tweeted. “We [hope] this turns out better for the kid.”
Don’t let someone’s low light be you own high light. We help this turns out better for the kid— Matthew Judon (@man_dammn) June 19, 2023
More than 2,900 firearms have been discovered by TSA officers nationwide so far this year, the agency said. Of those, more than 92 percent were loaded.
“Firearms can be transported on a commercial aircraft only if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case and placed in checked baggage,” the TSA said. “Ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames, receivers, clips and magazines, are also prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be checked. Any type of replica firearm is prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be transported in checked luggage.”
A Patriots spokesperson said Friday that the team had been notified of the arrest and that team officials were gathering more information about the matter.
Jones, drafted in the fourth round in 2022, participated in New England’s mandatory minicamp last week. He seemed primed for a larger role this year after his rookie season ended with a knee injury and two-game suspension.
The Patriots did not disclose the reason for the suspension. Jones’s agent, Jamal Tooson, said at the time that “miscommunication regarding Jack’s rehab process” led to the discipline.
Earlier this year, when the Memphis Grizzlies suspended point guard Ja Morant for appearing to hold a gun in a video streamed live on Instagram, Jones called Morant “dumb.”
“You letting social media and yo pride ruin yo real money,” he tweeted in May. “Put them guns down and run that money up. Make one of yo homies sign up for security or concealed carry if you feel like you need it that bad … But you the bread winner, you gotta start acting like it.”
The arrest is the latest off-field incident for Jones.
A five-star recruit out of Long Beach Polytechnic High School in California, Jones played two seasons at Southern Cal before getting dismissed in May 2018 because of academic issues.
Three weeks after the team removed him from the roster, Jones was arrested at a Panda Express in Santa Paula, Calif., on suspicion of commercial burglary and conspiracy to commit a crime — two felony charges. The charges were later reduced to a second-degree misdemeanor. Jones served 45 days of house arrest as part of a plea agreement.
After transferring to Moorpark College for the 2018 season, Jones committed to Arizona State. He played in all 13 games in 2019, but was suspended indefinitely after the 2020 season opener for a conduct-related matter. He returned to the field for a productive 2021 season, playing in 11 games.
When the Patriots drafted Jones last year, he expressed a desire to move on.
“I learned from it,” he said in April 2022. “I’m looking forward to moving forward. I’m not really worried about the past. I’m working on my present right now, what I have going on and controlling what I can control.”
Jones is in the second season of his four-year, $4.4 million rookie contract. His base salary for 2023 is $870,000.
New England’s offseason program ended Friday, so players are off until training camp begins at the end of July.
Material from previous Globe stories was used in this report.