Orcas Island man sentenced to 28 months for meth possession

A jury found Justin Travis Langworthy, 33, of Eastsound guilty of violating the uniform controlled substances act – possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine and being armed with a deadly weapon at the time of the crime, a felony.

A jury trial with San Juan County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Teresa Barnet and public defender Colleen Kenimond was held March 26-27. Langworthy was sentenced on March 30 in San Juan County Superior Court by Judge Kathryn Loring to 28 months in prison with credit for time served. The judge also ruled that because his offense was related to drug abuse, he will be eligible for treatment while serving his sentence.

On Oct. 9, 2017, an Orcas deputy took a report from a property owner who suspected a drug deal had taken place nearby her home. A license plate number was provided, and it was discovered that the owner, Langworthy, had a suspended driver’s license and an active felony warrant for his arrest out of California. The deputy viewed security camera footage of the suspected drug deal, and it showed a man who looked like Langworthy.

Later that same day, two deputies saw the defendant driving and pulled him over. While approaching the vehicle, they observed a hunting knife on the passenger seat. The deputies asked the defendant to confirm his identity, seized and secured the knife and then arrested Langworthy on the outstanding warrant. One of the deputies found a baggy of what appeared to be methamphetamine in the defendant’s pocket.

The two deputies decided to impound the vehicle, and one of them began an inventory search of the vehicle where he found several bundles of cash and a digital scale with white residue. After discovering those items, he ended his search. The following day, a warrant was granted to continue the search of the car, and deputies found 100 grams of meth and heroin, bundled U.S. currency and digital scales and packaging material.

On Feb. 6, Judge Loring ruled that the items found in the car after Langworthy was arrested were inadmissible at trial because the deputies “did not consider reasonable alternatives to impound[ing the car] and the decision to impound was not reasonable. The resulting inventory search therefore violated the Washington Constitution.” As a result, the jury was not presented with the 100 grams of meth and heroin, currency and scales as evidence.

Additional footage from the homeowner’s security camera showed three island residents smoking out of a long thin pipe and with a straw on tin foil while in the car with Langworthy on Oct. 3 and 9.

From the video, officers were able to identify Vincent Amann, Stephan Schulz and Abigail Lucas, all of whom cooperated with police and made statements. Schulz told deputies he purchased heroin from Langworthy, who would “throw in one to two points of meth” for free. Amann provided access to his cell phone, where text messages between him and Langworthy about where to meet for drug sales were used as evidence. Schulz and Amann both testified at trial.

“This case wouldn’t have reached this conclusion without the diligence of someone who was watching out for her neighborhood,” said San Juan County Prosecutor Randy Gaylord. “And then it was good, solid police work to fill in the gaps that were created by the court’s ruling (that suppressed evidence).”