Caldwell man who used kids to package meth is sentenced to 45 years in prison

Published: Apr. 13, 2018 at 11:07 PM CDT
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The following news release comes from the Burleson County District Attorney's Office:

Charles David Clark, 46, of Caldwell, was convicted by a Burleson County jury Wednesday afternoon for Manufacture/Delivery of a Controlled Substance PG1 Less Than 1 Gram. Clark elected to have the Court assess punishment. Late Thursday afternoon, Visiting Judge J.D. Langley, sentenced Clark to 45 years in prison. Assistant District Attorney Joan Scroggins and First Assistant District Attorney Adam Muery represented the State, and Dan Jones of Bryan represented the Defendant.

Clark was indicted on June 21, 2017, after investigators with the Burleson County Sheriff’s Office were able to purchase methamphetamine from him, using a confidential informant. Clark sold less than 1 gram of methamphetamine to a confidential informant who was equipped with discreet audio/visual recording devices so that the entire transaction was recorded. The recording was played for the jury, and in the background, young children could be heard talking to the CI during the transaction. Evidence was presented that Clark was using children, both his and other people’s, some as young as 5 years old, to package the methamphetamine. The jury also heard evidence that Clark was receiving and distributing up to 7 ounces (196 grams) per week, and was one of the biggest methamphetamine dealers in Caldwell.

As charged, the offense is a state jail felony carrying a punishment range of 6 months to 2 years in a state jail facility. However, Clark has an extensive criminal history going back to 1994 which includes multiple convictions and incarcerations for drug delivery and drug possession, as well as convictions for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon. Due to his record, Clark’s punishment range was enhanced to Habitual Offender Status, 25-99 years, or life, in prison.

Muery delivered the closing argument for the State and addressed the defense plea for mercy and a lower sentence by pointing out the criminal history, and highlighting the damage methamphetamine does to the community. “He directly exposed children to this poison. His is not a victimless crime as so many would have you believe.” Later, Muery explained, “Meth is a plague on the rural communities. People are losing money, jobs, relationships, and even their children because of the addiction. Where there is meth, there is increased family violence, thefts, burglaries, robberies, and so on. People often forget about the collateral damage of methamphetamine usage.”

District Attorney Julie Renken commented after the sentence was announced, “We will continue to prosecute drug dealers to the fullest extent. I made that promise and will continue to uphold it.” “Thanks to the hard work by the Sheriff’s Office,” she continued, “we were able to make sure that Charles Clark will not be pushing meth in this community for a long time. We hope these innocent children have no long-term damage from his actions.”