Jury sentences Palestine man to 99 years in prison for drug charges

Jury sentences Palestine man to 99 years in prison for drug charges
Darryl Wayne Lewis, 44 (Source: Anderson County)

ANDERSON COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A Palestine man was found guilty of Possession of Controlled Substance charges and was given a lengthy prison sentence by a jury.

Darryl Wayne Lewis, 44, of Palestine, was found guilty on February 14 by an Anderson County jury. On February 15, he was sentenced by the same jury to 99 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Officials say Lewis was arrested in 2014 after Palestine Police Department officers and SWAT team executed a "no knock" search warrant at a local home occupied by Lewis and his wife Gina. Once inside the home, Sgt. Matt Kerr and fellow police officers began a search for contraband. In their bedroom. Officers located methamphetamine pipes on each nightstand, police say. They say that located on Lewis's nightstand were a set of digital scales, his cell phone, and his parole ankle monitor station. Near Lewis, officers located a bag containing 3.41 grams of methamphetamine and multiple small baggies, they say.

Sgt. Kerr testified that the baggies and scales are tools dealers commonly use to sell illegal drugs. Sgt. Brian Chason, formerly of the Anderson County Sheriff's Office, testified that he conducted a download of the recovered phone and discovered multiple text messages sent by Lewis. Sgt. Kerr testified that the texts indicated Lewis was selling methamphetamine.

In the punishment phase of trial, the jury was presented evidence that Lewis is a habitual offender. He has been incarcerated four times on six different felony cases out of Anderson County beginning in 1992, officials said. Possession of a Controlled Substance with intent to Deliver PG1 1-4 grams is a 2nd degree felony with a punishment range of 2-20 years TDCJ, but because the jury believed Lewis is a habitual offender, the degree of offense was enhanced to a 1st degree felony making the range of punishment 25-99 years or life.

Additionally, the jury heard evidence that in 2016 Lewis was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance PG1 <1g. Former Palestine Police Officer Jaquan Jones testified that he pulled over a vehicle Lewis was driving.

Upon approaching the car, Jones said he smelled marijuana and asked Lewis and his passengers to exit the vehicle. During the search of the car, Jones said, he located a methamphetamine pipe near the brake handle between Lewis and his front seat passenger.

Anderson County District Attorney Allyson Mitchell and 1st Assistant District Attorney Scott Holden represented the state while Lewis was represented by Mark Cargill. 87th Judicial District Judge Deborah Oakes Evans presiding over the four day trial.

"Drug dealers beware. A 99-year prison sentence should put you on alert that Anderson County Jurors are sick and tired of drugs being peddled in our community," stated D.A. Mitchell.

She furthered stated, "Lewis has a prior history of dealing drugs in our community as revealed from his past trips to TDCJ. In fact, this case was committed while he was on parole from a 2008 multi-count conviction for dealing drugs. With this sentence, Anderson County citizens are saying loud and clear to the illegal drug trade, 'not in our community.'"

Mitchell continues to encourage citizens to continue to be proactive by contacting law enforcement when they suspect any drug activity is occurring.

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