GULFPORT -- A Pascagoula man who arranged large shipments of the purest form of meth, known as ice, from California to Jackson County has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for trafficking meth.
Michael Wayne "Swisha" Hanzik Jr., 27, of Pascagoula, was sentenced in U.S. District Court on Thursday. He'd pleaded guilty in August to possession with intent to distribute meth.
Prior to sentencing, Hanzik, a member of the Simon City Royals street gang, said he was at the judge's mercy.
U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden said Hanzik's involvement in the meth distribution ring was "elaborate and extensive" and identified him as a leader in the drug-trafficking scheme. Hanzik was known for hiding the meth he later sold inside tennis balls in his car.
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The judge also noted Hanzik's criminal history, including home and vehicle burglaries, and said he had "no respect for the law." He also fined Hanzik $5,000 and ordered him to serve three years under post-release supervision.
The judge said Hanzik was major player in the meth-distribution ring that included Marques DeAnthony Payton, 36, of Atlanta but formerly of Jackson County, and Scott Joseph Houska, 48, and Demario Antwon Neal, 24, both of Gautier, all of whom have been charged.
Hanzik was arrested March 24 in a traffic stop in Jackson County, during which he was trying to hide some meth in his mouth. In addition, federal drug agents seized meth-stuffed tennis balls from his car. Federal agents also seized an additional $3,923 in suspected drug money and meth mailed to him March 20.
The DEA and Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics investigated the case.
A DEA agent said Hanzik gave the Fresno, Calif., dealer the addresses of his mother, brother, cousin and girlfriend to ship packages to in order to avoid suspicion.
Drug agents arrested Houska and Payton in April.
All but Neal have entered pleas in the case.