U.S. District Judge Norma Holloway Johnson sentenced a disbarred D.C. lawyer yesterday to 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine -- an unusually stiff penalty -- for his conviction as a major manufacturer of the hallucinogen PCP.
Federal prosecutors asked Johnson to impose the "enhanced" sentence on George D. Gates, 48, under a federal law that permits a harsher penalty for a defendant with a prior drug conviction.
Gates was disbarred in the District after a 1979 heroin conviction in Texas.
Prosecutors charged at a trial last month that Gates had already prepared 9,000 dosage units of PCP and had the ingredients for 1.8 million units more when an explosion ripped a Southeast apartment where Gates and a second man were "cooking" batches of the drug.
The street value of one unit is about $5, according to prosecution testimony.
Gates suffered severe burns on his face, arms and legs as a result of the explosion. Investigators later found $5,000 in cash in the pocket of a suit belonging to Gates and $56,000 in cash in a safety deposit box rented by Gates, according to prosecution testimony.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William O'Malley, arguing for the stiffer sentence, called Gates yesterday "a shameless profiteer" in the city's illicit drug trade.
Federal law permits a maximum 10-year prison term on each of three counts on which Gates was convicted. Johnson doubled those terms to 20 years on each count, but ordered that the terms run concurrently.
On a fourth count, which carries a five-year maximum, Johnson imposed a 10-year sentence. Gates will be eligible for parole in 10 years on the total, 30-year sentence.
A codefendant, Daniel L. Lampkins, 29, of the District, is scheduled for sentencing on Friday.