Crime

Fresno man caught in Mississippi meth-dealing scheme

Men caught in a Mississippi methamphetamine-dealing ring. From left, Marques DeAnthony Payton, 36, of Fresno; Michael Wayne Hanzik Jr., 27, of Pascagoula, Miss.; and Scott Joseph Houska, 48, of Gautier, Miss.
Men caught in a Mississippi methamphetamine-dealing ring. From left, Marques DeAnthony Payton, 36, of Fresno; Michael Wayne Hanzik Jr., 27, of Pascagoula, Miss.; and Scott Joseph Houska, 48, of Gautier, Miss. Courtesy of Biloxi Sun Herald

A third man has pleaded guilty in the distribution of meth shipped from Fresno to Jackson County, Mississippi.

Michael Wayne “Swisha” Hanzik Jr., 27, of Pascagoula, pleaded guilty Tuesday to possession with intent to distribute meth. He will be sentenced Nov. 19. His charge carries maximum penalties of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

A federal drug investigation identified Hanzik and his two co-defendants as major suppliers of multiple kilos of meth in Jackson County, where the meth was shipped and payments wired to bank accounts in Fresno.

His co-defendants face maximum penalties of five to 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine.

Marques DeAnthony Payton, 36, of Fresno, pleaded guilty Aug. 19 to a conspiracy charge. His sentencing is Nov. 24.

Scott Joseph Houska, 48, of Gautier, pleaded guilty June 22 to possession with intent to distribute.

The Drug Enforcement Administration began its investigation after the George County Sheriff’s Office and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics received information that Hanzik was distributing meth in Jackson County, a DEA agent’s sworn statement said.

The South Mississippi Metro Enforcement Team assisted in surveillance that found Hanzik in a traffic stop March 24 with a bag of meth in his mouth and meth hidden in tennis balls. A search of his home turned up $3,923 in suspected drug money and meth shipped to him March 20, the document said.

Further investigation showed the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office had seized a one-pound package of meth March 17 that was bound for Hanzik’s home.

A DEA agent has testified the others were arrested in April after agents learned Payton was heading to Jackson County from Atlanta. Houska had meth in his car and his apartment at the time of his arrest, the agent said.

Robin Fitzgerald is a reporter with the Biloxi Sun Herald.

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