Accused drug kingpin convicted on drug conspiracy charges

Written By BY JON SEIDEL AND KIM JANSSEN Staff Reporters Posted: 03/12/2014, 06:12am

An accused drug kingpin from the West Side on trial for drug conspiracy charges has been convicted on all counts, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney.

David Price’s defense lawyer openly admitted at the start of his trial that his unemployed client sold heroin to pay for a lavish lifestyle that included a $35,000 diamond-encrusted watch, a Corvette and a suburban mansion.

He admitted it because Price was charged with a drug conspiracy — not with selling heroin.

Defense attorney Michael Thompson split hairs and said his client simply sold drugs and never told anyone what to do, hoping to help Price avoid a mandatory sentence of 20 years to life.

But prosecutors promised a bevy of “insiders” from Price’s organization would testify how he directed them to cut heroin with sleeping pills and package it for sale.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Fayhee said Price became a millionaire by making “tens of thousands of dollars a week” overseeing the army of street-level sellers and mid-level dealers.

His DuPage County home had a circular driveway and a fountain, and he used friends and families as fronts for purchases and $1,000-a-week luxury car rentals, arming himself with a 9 mm Uzi-style gun, Fayhee said.

Price denied the gun was his. But Thompson did tell jurors he expected them to find Price guilty of money laundering — that crime carries no mandatory minimum sentence, unlike the conspiracy counts.

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