Joathan Sherwood Watson, 32, of Lenoir, will serve a prison sentence of six to eight years following his conviction for trafficking methamphetamine by transport and possession, and fleeing to elude arrest with a motor vehicle.
The Honorable Daniel A. Kuehnert, Superior Court Judge from Burke County, imposed the prison term for Watson after he pleaded guilty during Caldwell County Superior Court on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.
In addition to the active period of incarceration, the defendant also will be required to pay a mandatory fine of $50,000.
Watson will serve his sentence in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections.
Investigators with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office received information in early April 2021 that Watson was selling methamphetamine and determined through surveillance that his supply came a from a Gaston County residence. The defendant picked up the methamphetamine in Gaston County and drove it to Caldwell for distribution.
On April 26, 2021, he was observed by investigators coming back into Caldwell County after visiting the supplier in Gaston.
Deputies attempted to make a traffic stop of Watson on U.S. 321 near Granite Falls, but he led them on a high-speed chase on to adjoining side roads, passing unsuspecting motorists across the double yellow line. He eventually overturned the SUV he was driving on a bridge railing, climbed out of the vehicle and jumped into a creek below. Following a foot chase through a wooded area, Watson was caught and taken into custody.
A search of his vehicle yielded methamphetamine packaged in various containers.
The cases were investigated by the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Mathews prosecuted the matter for the State.
CONTACT: Nathan Key