- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - A Mississippi man has been sentenced to 14 1/2 years in prison for the distribution of meth shipped from Fresno, California, to Jackson County, Mississippi.

U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden also Tuesday fined Scott Joseph Houska, of Gautier, Mississippi, $5,000 and ordered him to serve five years under post-release supervision.

The Sun Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1MFBs6Z) Houska pleaded guilty June 22 to possession with intent to distribute meth. In exchange for his plea, the government dismissed a conspiracy charge.

A federal drug investigation identified Houska and two other defendants as major suppliers of a number of kilos of meth to Jackson County.

Marques DeAnthony Payton, 36, of Fresno, pleaded guilty Aug. 19 to a conspiracy charge and is facing penalties of five to 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine. His sentencing is set for Nov. 24.

Michael Wayne Hanzik Jr., 27, of Pascagoula, Mississippi, pleaded guilty Aug. 25 to possession with intent to distribute. At his Nov. 19 sentencing, he’s facing a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and up to a $1 million fine.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents began an investigation after the George County Sheriff’s Office and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics received information about Hanzik distributing meth in Jackson County, court papers said.

The South Mississippi Metro Enforcement Team later arrested Hanzik March 24 in a traffic stop that yielded a bag of meth from his mouth and more meth hidden in tennis balls in his car. At his home, authorities seized $3,923 in suspected drug money and meth shipped to him March 20.

In addition, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office on March 17 seized a 1-pound package of meth bound for Hanzik’s home.

Authorities arrested Houska and Payton in April after DEA agents learned Payton was driving to Jackson County from Atlanta. At the time of Houska’s arrest, authorities found meth in his car and apartment.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com


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