By Hillary S. Meeks

Killeen Daily Herald

A "significant player" in the distribution of cocaine in Central Texas was arrested in Houston on April 19, almost a year after the Harker Heights Police Department initiated an investigation, according to an HHPD news release.

HHPD Chief of Police Mike Gentry said Eric Watson, 34, "was definitely the lead person responsible for the distribution of cocaine here."

The investigation against Watson began on June 28, 2006, after he fled police in a vehicle and then crashed it, Gentry said. Police found 2.2 kilograms of cocaine, a pound of marijuana and two firearms after searching the vehicle. Warrants were immediately issued to search various storage facilities and residences in the area.

Gentry said Watson's residence at the time was at 3905 Bella Vista Loop in Harker Heights. In connection with the search for Watson, an apartment at the 1700 block of Bent Tree Drive in Killeen was searched and 300 grams of cocaine was seized and two arrests were made. An additional gram of cocaine and three firearms were discovered at a storage facility at the 4600 block of East Rancier Avenue in Killeen.

When Watson was arrested on April 19, the following evidence was seized: more than $36,000 in United States currency, more than $40,000 in jewelry, a large quantity of counterfeit currency, approximately 2 pounds of cocaine, about three pounds of marijuana, about 1 gallon of codeine with promethazine and two firearms.

"This individual is responsible for the distribution of hundreds of pounds, probably thousands of pounds, of cocaine in the Central Texas area," Gentry said.

Gentry said the local investigators he worked with on this case would often remark that they had never before dealt with a person as high up in a drug ring as Watson. He said leads on Watson led the investigation to Georgia, Florida, California and other parts of Texas.

"Through this investigation, he became a fugitive, and we've been tracking him all these months through some extremely aggressive investigation techniques," Gentry said. "We were able to find him in Houston with the help of the U.S. Marshal Service, the Houston Police Department and the Central Texas Narcotics Task Force."

Contact Hillary S. Meeks at or call (254) 501-7464

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