CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—March 12, 2014. A federal jury deliberated approximately an hour last night and this morning before convicting a Chicago area man on all charges against him for directing a six-year conspiracy to distribute at least a kilogram of heroin on the city’s west side. Attorneys for the defendant, DAVID PRICE, 34, conceded that Price possessed and sold heroin and laundered the cash proceeds by purchasing expensive suburban properties, automobiles, and jewelry, but they denied he conspired to traffic heroin during the week-long trial in U.S, District Court.
The jury’s guilty verdict on the conspiracy count alone means that Price is facing a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber set sentencing for July 30.
Price, also known as “Shorty,” “Lil Dave,” and “Hot Sauce,” was convicted on 13 counts, including the heroin conspiracy, using a telephone to facilitate a drug-trafficking crime, money laundering conspiracy, nine counts of money laundering totaling approximately $448,000, and being a convicted felon-in-possession of an Uzi-style 9 millimeter semi-automatic pistol that was loaded with a 30-round extended magazine.
Originally from Chicago, Price was living in Brookfield at the time of his arrest in August 2012 and he remains in federal custody without bond. At various times, Price has lived in homes or apartment buildings in Country Club Hills, Darien, Lombard, Bolingbrook, and high-rises in downtown Chicago, which he purchased or rented in the names of other individuals, including his father, with drug proceeds. Evidence at the trial also established that Price bought at least six luxury vehicles, including a Corvette and a motor cycle, and expensive jewelry with drug money. Jurors were shown a $35,000 watch with 1,018 diamonds, totaling approximately 22 karats, which was seized from Price.
The government’s bid to forfeit the watch, vehicles, and properties, as well as $1.1 million in proceeds, remains pending and will be decided later by Judge Leinenweber.
Evidence showed that Price ran the heroin distribution ring from 2005 through 2011, but focused on 2007-08. Price “fronted” wholesale quantities of heroin to be sold at various west side drug spots and rotated sharing the profits with the supervisors of those locations, which included street corners along Augusta at Keeler, Lawler, and Laramie/Leamington; Kostner and Cortez; Iowa and Lamon; and Erie and Kilptarick, among others.
Price and others involved in the conspiracy ― all of whom have been convicted separately ― used an apartment at 5242 West Division, which they referred to as “Up Top,” to mix heroin with the sleeping pill Dormin, and package it for sale in retail packages and bundles. Three co-conspirators testified as government witnesses, including James Brown. The evidence established that Price directed two members of his crew to shoot and kill Brown on Jan. 25, 2008, because Brown owed a drug debt to Price and believed he was cooperating with law enforcement. Brown survived the shooting.
The verdict was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jack Riley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration; James C. Lee, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago; Carl Vasilko, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Angel Krull, Erik Hogstrom, and Ryan Fayhee.