Meth mule sentenced to 40 years

Lance Woodward was found in possession of a controlled substance, 100-plus grams

Jefferson County Assistant District Attorney Logan Campbell said a 40-year sentence handed down May 18 by a jury in Judge Larry Gist’s Drug Impact Court not only resulted in taking a repeat offender off the streets, but it also likely kept untold amounts of meth from pouring into Jefferson County.

The defendant was suspected of bringing in more of the drug than just the 100-plus grams he was caught with by persistent Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputies when he was arrested late last year.

“The sheriff’s department had information that he was buying meth and bringing it back to Jefferson County,” Campbell said. “So this probably wasn’t his only time to do it.”

For certain, this wasn’t the only time Lance Christopher Woodward was found in possession of a controlled substance. The convicted felon has four prior felony drug convictions, according to Campbell. A complete criminal background check of Woodward shows other instances of criminality including harassment, family violence, interfering with an emergency call, driving while intoxicated, driving while intoxicated with a minor passenger, and burglary of a habitation.

“It took the jury only 12 minutes to convict him,” Campbell said of the virility of the case posed against Woodward. Still, the defendant took to the stand in an effort to sway that same jury to impose a sentence less than the 40 years Campbell was seeking. “It took 9 minutes to sentence.”

District Attorney Bob Wortham extolled the hard work of Campbell and lead Drug Court prosecutor Chris Cadena in securing the sentence imposed on a man who has proven to be a danger to society. In a release of information from Wortham’s office, the offense that led to Woodward’s most recent adjudication was explained.

“In October 2015, Detectives with the Jefferson County Narcotics Task Force were conducting surveillance on a suspect they believed to be trafficking crystal meth from Houston and into Jefferson County,” the information reveals as to the impetus of Woodward’s criminal prosecution. “On Oct. 22, 2015 a tracking device that was placed on Woodward’s vehicle alerted detectives that he was traveling to Houston. After making a 20-minute stop in Houston, Woodward began to drive back to Jefferson County where he was eventually pulled over by sheriff deputies in China. A search of Woodward’s vehicle revealed 142 grams of crystal meth with an estimated street value of $11,000.”

The search didn’t lead to an easy detection, however, as Woodward had the drugs stored in a secret compartment of his vehicle.

According to Campbell, the sentence was fair and justified.

“I looked (the jurors) in the eyes and said I wouldn’t ask for anything more than he deserved. He deserved 40,” Campbell said. “Just looking at his prior history, this is his fifth felony drug conviction. … And he wasn’t just trafficking meth through Jefferson County where it would go to Louisiana or somewhere else – it was staying here, and that touched the jury.”

Woodward was also being held on charges of burglary of a habitation for an offense against his own mother, but in light of the 40-year sentence handed down in the drug distribution case, that charge was dropped. Woodward must serve 10 years of his current sentence before being eligible for parole.