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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
March 4, 2005

Jury Convicts a Houston "Ice" and Ecstasy Dealer

(HOUSTON, TX) United States Attorney Michael Shelby announced today the return of guilty verdicts convicting Rathna Men King, also known as Mark King, 27, of Houston, Texas, of narcotics trafficking. After a four-day trial, which ended on Thursday, March 3, 2005, the federal jury found King guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine "ice" and ecstasy.

During the four day trial, the United States presented testimony and introduced physical evidence that proved that in 2001, King was intercepted on a Court authorized wire tap of telephone conversations in which he engaged in purchasing and selling significant quantities of MDMA and hydroponic marijuana, a highly potent form of the drug, in Houston, Texas. Through the continuing investigative efforts law enforcement personnel, special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration determined that by late 2001, King was distributing pound quantities of "ice," which is a more potent form of methamphetamine with a purity over 80 percent, in addition to ecstasy and hydroponic marijuana. The jury also learned that on April 11, 2003, a confidential source working with federal agents purchased "ice" and ecstasy from King while law enforcement officials monitored the narcotics transaction.

During King's trial, several of his co-conspirators testified on behalf of the United States. Their testimony was that from early 2000 through the fall of 2004, the period of the conspiracy, King distributed at least 10 pounds of "ice", tens of thousands of tablets of ecstasy and approximately 150 pounds of hydroponic marijuana in the Houston area.

King testified on his own behalf during trial. King admitted to the jury he had trafficked ecstasy and marijuana, but denied any involvement with "ice". However, during cross-examination by Assistant United States Attorney Shelley Hicks, King admitted he was aware that a conviction for trafficking in "ice" carries the most severe penalties upon conviction. The jury's verdicts of guilty on both counts clearly indicate King's self-characterization as only an ecstasy and marijuana dealer and not an "ice" dealer were unavailing.

King's conviction for conspiracy carries a mandatory minimum punishment of 10 years and a maximum of life imprisonment, and a $4 million fine. The substantive possession of controlled substances conviction carries a mandatory minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 40 years in prison, without parole, and a $2 million fine. Judge Hittner has set King's sentencing for May 31, 2005, at 9:30 a.m.

This case was investigated by agents and officers of High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force (HIDTA), the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Harris County Sheriff's Office and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Shelley J. Hicks and Stuart Burns.



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