A Fairfax County jury has recommended a 120-year prison sentence plus a $75,000 fine for a man convicted of manufacturing the drug PCP.
Court observers said the recommended penalty -- which could be reduced by the sentencing judge -- may be the toughest ever returned in a county drug case.
The Circuit Court jury deliberated about 70 minutes Thursday night before finding Garland Fields, 43, of Falls Church, guilty of participating in a scheme to manufacture about 360 pounds of PCP, also known as angel dust.
Sentencing by Judge James C. Cacheris was scheduled for Jan. 18.
The jury decided on the maximum 40-year prison sentence and $25,000 fine for Fields on each of the three charges -- manufacturing, possessing and conspiring to manufacture PCP.
Two Falls Church men arrested with Fields and convicted by different juries of the same offenses were given substantially lighter sentences. One, Floyd J. Martin, 29, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and the other, Warrent Holiday, 41, was sentenced to 14 years. Each was also fined $10,000.
Frederick W. Ford, Field's attorney called the recommended sentence "outrageous." Noting that the maximum penalty for second degree murder is 20 years, he said, "to have a drug offense be a more serious offense than murdering somebody is ludicrous and obscene."
Prosecutor Thomas E. Gallahue called the sentence justified. "Murder involves only one person," he said. Calling PCP more dangerous than herion, he said it "is hurting thousands of people."
Gallahue described Fields as a callous man who was "in the drug business to make money. In some respects he got more consideration from the judge and jury than he ever gave to anybody he ever sold that junk to."
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has called PCP, normally used as a tranquilizer for large animals, one of the most dangerous drugs on the illegal market.