Confessed cocaine dealer sentenced to 78 years in prison, fine - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

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Confessed cocaine dealer sentenced to 78 years in prison, $7,500 fine by Polk Co. Jury

Tachalla Washington (left) listens with his attorney as prosecutor William Lee Hon addresses a Polk County jury. Source: PolkCountyToday.com. Tachalla Washington (left) listens with his attorney as prosecutor William Lee Hon addresses a Polk County jury. Source: PolkCountyToday.com.
Tchalla Washington, Mugshot courtesy Polk Co Jail Tchalla Washington, Mugshot courtesy Polk Co Jail

LIVINGSTON, TX (KTRE) – A Livingston man is going to prison for 78 years following a conviction of possession with intent to deliver cocaine.

The arrest and subsequent conviction of Tchalla Washington, 31, Livingston, came after an undercover narcotics investigation by the Polk County Sheriff's Department in August and September of 2010, according to Polk County District Attorney Lee Hon.

The case went to trial this week.  "Washington had sold crack cocaine to a confidential informant on three separate occasions at a residential apartment complex along Mimosa Street within the City of Livingston.  Because Washington had previously served time in prison, the charge was enhanced to a First Degree felony with a maximum punishment of 99 years or life in prison," Hon said in a written statement.

State District Judge Robert Trapp presided over the case.  A jury deliberated approximately one hour Wednesday afternoon before returning a guilty verdict.

Thursday was spent presenting evidence during the punishment phase of the trial.  Evidence presented by the prosecution showed Washington had a long record and had previously served time for robbery, aggravated assault and possession of cocaine from 2002 to 2008.

"After making bond for the present offense, Washington had been rearrested in June of 2011 for threatening and slashing the bicycle tires of a Livingston man who had previously made a report to the Livingston Police Department concerning Washington. After making bond for that charge, Washington was again arrested in October of 2011 after threatening to assault another Livingston man who had reported to the police that he suspected Washington was selling drugs in a different Livingston neighborhood that Washington had moved to in the fall of last year. Washington remains charged by separate indictments with felony Retaliation in connection with each of those arrests," Hon said in a written statement.

During the punishment phase of the trial, Washington testified in his own defense.  He testified that he had sold cocaine to the confidential informant and other individuals.  He said he sold drugs to support his family because no one would help him find a regular job. 

Washington was sentenced to 78 years in prison and a $7,500 fine.  "Mr. Washington has a very extensive criminal history including time on felony probation and in prison.  He has been given multiple opportunities and chances to demonstrate that he could become a law abiding citizen and he refused," said Hon.

"The Polk County Sheriff's Department and Livingston Police Department had been working for quite some time to get Washington off of the streets and stop his drug dealing," Hon noted. "This Polk County jury sent a very loud and clear message that this type of illegal drug activity will not be tolerated," Hon concluded.

Copyright 2012 KTRE.  All Rights Reserved.

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