Carryout owner pleads to drug dealing under cross-examination

Local,Crime,Scott McCabe

The owner of a Northwest Washington carryout cut short his trial to plead guilty to dealing drugs out of his establishment.

Suk "Bruce" In Hyun, 53, pleaded guilty to distribution of cocaine following his cross-examination during a weeklong trial in D.C. Superior Court.

For nearly two days, Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik Zwicker's challenged Hyun on the stand, questioning the business owner about what he knew and didn't know about the drugs that were steadily sold out of his D.C. Fish Carryout.

Hyun denied any involvement, the court halted the questions and broke for lunch.

But when the trial reconvened Thursday afternoon, Hyun agreed to plead guilty to the top felony count in the indictment.

Hyun, of Centreville, faces a maximum of up to 30 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 18.

The D.C. Fish Carryout business had been a persistent problem for Columbia Heights residents who complained that the joint was a front for a brisk crack cocaine business.

According to prosecutors, in June 2011, Hyun entered into an a agreement with Timothy Hill, 25, and Craig McKoy, 44, to sell crack cocaine out of the store. Hill and McKoy paid Hyun money to arrange cocaine sales inside the carryout shop and outside the view of police.

About 10 to 15 times a day, seven days a week, McKoy met with cocaine buyers around the block and brought them to the carryout. Hyun placed a telephone call to let the dealer know that the drug operation had a customer.

Hill usually brought the cocaine to the store, and the drug sale was made. Hill paid Hyun a percentage of each sale.

In December, D.C. police began to make several undercover purchases of crack cocaine inside the store.

Police raided the business in February and recovered tens of thousands of small plastic bags often used in the packaging of narcotics, 17 digital scales and more than a pound of synthetic marijuana.

Hill and McKoy, both of D.C., earlier pleaded guilty to charges in the case. Hill is serving an 18-month sentence for this offense, in addition to a 30-month sentence for the unlawful possession of a firearm in another case. McKoy is awaiting sentencing.

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