Eric Rawls and Judeah Williams were found guilty of drug trafficking by a Pierce County jury last week

A Pierce County jury found two people guilty of drug trafficking in a trial held last Tuesday, September 17, at the Pierce County Courthouse.

Chief Judge Dwayne Gillis  of the Waycross Judicial Circuit presided over the case and sentenced Eric Rawls to 30 years (serve 15) and a $200,000 fine. Judeah Williams was sentenced to 20 years (serve 10) and a $200,000 fine.

The jury returned a guilty verdict for both defendants within 30 minutes. Rawls and Williams were convicted for trafficking more than 28 grams of cocaine with a mixture of a purity of 10 percent or more.

Rawls, a 48-year-old Waycross man, and Williams, a 27-year-old Blackshear woman, were arrested and charged with drug trafficking following an early morning traffic stop by Blackshear Officer Joey Daniels two years ago on U.S. Hwy. 84 for failure to maintain lane.

Daniels pulled Rawls, driving a Chevy Impala, over for crossing the center line. The smell of alcohol from an open container, reportedly belonging to Rawls’ passenger Judeah Williams, prompted Daniels to search the vehicle. Daniels found bags with a white, powdery substance inside a glove in the console of the car.

The crime lab later confirmed it was 82 grams of cocaine, 78 percent pure.

“That was relatively pure for Pierce County. Usually by the time it hits the streets it’s going to be 15-20 percent purity,” says Assistant District Attorney Melanie Brogden. “That was a huge amount for Pierce County.”

Officer Breanna French assisted Daniels with the traffic stop.

Blackshear Police Chief Chris Wright commended his officers for their work on this case.

“I’m proud of them,” Wright said.

Rawls was on parole for a 1999 federal conviction of conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine base at the time of the traffic stop. He admitted to being on parole, but denied ownership of the drugs.

According to court records, Williams reportedly admitted to the officers that the cocaine belonged to her. She told officers she sold her car and used the $2,400 she received from the sale of the vehicle to purchase the cocaine. She said she had been having trouble getting a job and was going to sell the cocaine to support her children.

Wright estimates, once diluted, the resale value on that amount of cocaine would have been approximately $10,000.

Rawls was represented at trial by Waycross attorney, Jim McGee. Williams was represented by Blackshear attorney, John Thigpen, Jr. Brogden was the lead prosecutor on the case.