NATION : D.C. Cocaine Kingpin Convicted

From Times Wire Services

A federal jury today convicted a 24-year-old man of operating a $2-million-a-week cocaine-distribution network in the nation's capital, a verdict that mandates life imprisonment.

Rayful Edmond III was found guilty of all seven counts against him after more than four days of deliberations that capped a 12-week trial. Ten co-defendants were convicted of related charges.

Prosecutors said at the trial that the drug ring accounted for up to 30% of the District of Columbia's cocaine market.

The trial was unusual from the outset, when the judge ruled that the names of jurors would be kept secret even from himself and lawyers to protect them from possible reprisals. The home of one witness' mother was firebombed during the trial and an informant was shot after being accidentally exposed by the prosecution.

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