Crime

After his fourth drug offense, prison is in a Gulfport man’s future

He said it wasn’t his cocaine, but a Harrison County jury found Walter Cornelius Lewis guilty of possession this week after a two-day trial, and now he faces up to six years in prison.

Narcotics officers from the Gulfport Police Department arrested Lewis on Dec. 16 after officers saw him sitting on a set of concrete steps in a vacant lot on 20th Street, according to a news release from the District Attorney’s Office. They were patrolling the area in an unmarked vehicle after a resident had reported drug activity.

When they approached Lewis, two officers testified, they saw him throw a container on the ground.

“The officers immediately retrieved the container and discovered that it contained cocaine,” the news release said. “Lewis testified for the jury in his own defense and claimed that he didn’t throw the drugs to the ground and that the drugs must have been left by someone else.”

Assistant District Attorneys Patti Simpson and Mitch Owen also presented testimony from the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory identifying the material in the container as cocaine.

Lewis is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 8 before Circuit Court Judge Chris Schmidt. He will be sentenced as a habitual offender because he has three prior felony convictions on drug-related charges, the news release said.

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99

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