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Area businessman, Leesburg commission member, arrested on drug charges

Thomas C. Watson

A prominent area businessman was arrested March 19 after a package with oxycodone and MDMA was delivered to his Leesburg home.

Thomas C. Watson, 41, was arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute. According to a release from the Leesburg Police Department, the package, which contained 10 oxycodone pills and 8.5 grams of MDMA, also known as ecstasy, was delivered to Watson's home on the 400 block of Davis Avenue SW at 9 a.m. Leesburg Police had worked with U.S. Postal Inspectors to track the shipment.

When Watson accepted the package, police executed a search warrant and seized the drugs, according to Leesburg Police Lt. Jeff Dube.

Watson is not unknown to the local community, boasting a successful IT company that's garnered accolades from both the Town of Leesburg and the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce.

In 2002, Watson founded Capital Computers and Networks, based in Leesburg, which provides IT support, data storage and other core business technology support, as well as consulting, for area businesses.

A decade after the company's inception, it was a finalist in the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce Small Business Awards for technology business of the year; in 2013, Capital Computers and Networks won the Town of Leesburg's Community Steward award for "actively contributing time, talent and resources to community improvement efforts."

Watson later helped found the Loudoun Chapter of 1 Million Cups, based at the Mason Enterprise Center. A meet-up, the group would assemble weekly to discuss business issues and share ideas.

In January, Watson was appointed to the Town of Leesburg's Technology and Communication's Commission, where he served as chair, helping to develop a strategic plan for the commission.

Watson's arrest sparked efforts from Leesburg Mayor Kristen Umstattd to improve the vetting procedure for potential Town Council commission nominees.
“In relation to our commissions, in light of Mr. Watson's situation, it has become apparent that there has been no uniform process for vetting potential nominees for Town boards and commissions,” Umstattd wrote in an email to the Times-Mirror. “Past nominees have been vetted by Town staff in relation to residence and nominees' names may have been run through an internet search, but it appears that there have not been thorough felony background checks.”

Watson had previously been arrested in 1995 in Tucson and found guilty of assault.

Umstattd proposes a felony background check, a questionnaire regarding felonies that prospective nominees must fill out and a new law that states a felony is grounds for dismissal. The mayor hoped to vote on the measure at the March 25 meeting, but fellow members balked at the move.

"Having dealt with background checks in one of my many lives, there's certain things you can and can't do with them, and passing a background check out to everyone caught my eye; that's one of the things you can't do,” council member Kevin Wright said. Wright proposed a work session on the matter and supported an eventual ethical clause to protect the council in the event of a dismissal. “I just don't want to go with a knee-jerk, next-day vote,” Wright explained.

Over the weekend, Watson stepped down from his Technology Commission seat and from his role with 1 Million Cups.

Watson's preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 22 in the general district court.


The package was marked “return to sender.” Tom is a health nut who eats organic foods and doesnt even put sugar in his body. Cant see him putting these toxins in it. Tom is a well-educated business owner. Can’t see him jeopardizing his business or his reputation by sending himself illegal drugs.. That would be stupid, and Tom isnt stupid.

The police are known to make mistakes

The oxycodone was probably for Rush Limbaugh.

We can blame Obama right, always attacking local business owners this President.

I’m been a neighbor of Tom for over 4 years, and it doesn’t make sense, he doesn’t traffic you would see at a drug house, he keeps irregular hours at being home due to his business and activities, and mostly I can’t see him taking the chance of ruining his life over a couple of thousand dollars of drugs (I had to Google street values).

I have been watching these posts and it is alarming to see so many pass judgment on someone they don’t know, before all the facts are out or a court has made any determination of guilt or innocence. I know Mr. Watson from the gym and the guy doesn’t even drink alcohol much less do drugs. Total health and fitness nut. Heck, I don’t even know if the guy has had a carb in the last 6 years. No doubt the press releases by the leading to the one sided articles show their frustration of rolling up in this guys crib expecting this big drug dealing operation and leaving with nothing to show but a coupyle of unopened packages. I can just imagine them tossing around all his protein powder looking for narcotics, sounds comical.  I just don’t see the motivation for what the authorities claim given the guy was running a successful business for many years.

Sounds like the Leesburg Police did an outstanding job here.  Nice job getting guys like this out of our community.  I wonder who this guy was going to sell to.  Maybe they were for him and his friends.

His past arrest history proves that he is a hot head.

I hope Dell, HP, and Microsoft also distance themselves from this person and company.

Innocent until proven guilty.. The Mayor is jumping to conclusions, and this is a political reaction caused by a combination of sensationalism and the viral nature of news media- which are both all too common in today’s world. Her having served 7 consecutive terms doesn’t help her argument.  When the police makes mistakes and the media fails to render objective journalism, the damage is done on a grand scale. As Mr. Petomane indicated, this is an upstanding citizen. He deserves to be treated as such until proven guilty.

Advice to the police dept: Don’t jeopardize the integrity of an investigation by opening an unopened package marked “return to sender.” This seems like a closed case at this point. You are supposed to be professionals.

Upstanding Commission member and human, grew a Loudoun business, paid his taxes and even “garnered accolades from both the Town of Leesburg and the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce.”

A misdirected package or possible illness - let the distancing begin. “situation”, “vetting”, “protect the council”. How hypocritical.

60 Min. piece on foreign scams - identity stolen, stuff ordered by credit card, shows up on doorstep & thief picks it up w/out homeowner knowledge.

Presumed Innocent, T. W.

It would not be the first time an investigation was conducted improperly. Does anyone remember Richard Jewell? The truth will come out in court and justice will be served. That is our system, best one in the world.

None of my relatives have posted on here as suggested but this is Tom Watson, the accused posting now.  I appreciate that many of the posts on here are positive and supportive and that others realize that errors are often made by the authorities and it is a bad idea to rush to judgment. 

The allegations and charges brought against me are false.  This article is incorrect in accusing me of accepting the packages.  I never accepted the packages, they were merely delivered to my home.  I have no control over what is sent to my address.  It is clear that I was targeted and my address was used by others to receive packages of illegal drugs.  I knew nothing of the contents of these packages, they were never opened and I had marked them Return to Sender as they were not from senders I was expecting anything from.  Prior to being able to mail them back to the sender I was arrested by local police due to a rush to judgment. I will be cleared of these erroneous charges.

Here is an advanced copy of a few of the mayor’s questions for her questionaire:

1. Do you know what a felony is?
2. Have you committed a felony?
3. Do you plan to commit a felony
4. Do you socialize with felons?
5. Do you watch any of the CSI shows to learn how to avoid conviction for a felony?
6. Are you telling the truth?

WOW, alot of people seem to know more than the police on this one…perhaps his family members are posting? Mr. Watson may have a better defense if he hadn’t told so many people he had used these, along with other illegal substances…

“Reminds of this guy I saw on the TV show COPS where he was fleeing police and jumped out of his car and foot bailed. Then the K-9 found him in the woods and had some fun with him.”

Great story Everett!!!  Tell us more about what you watch on TV and do at the gym!!

But small business owners are the life blood of our country!! They are the kings of the economy.  The savior of jobs.

You would think the GOP would be out defending this guy.

Remember when Eric Cantor called Labor Day - Employer day?

Well, so much for the presumption of innocence. The LTM has all but convicted him. I wish they would expand on this story and report the additional information they have that warranted putting his company name out there and digging into his nearly 20 year old past. Surely there is more to this story?

I don’t know this guy and have zero preconceptions about his potential guilt. However, don’t we let the courts determine that and dispense justice. What about his family? I presume he employs people in his business ventures. Do you think his business might be affected, and hence the livelihoods of his employees, by putting all of this out there? What gives?

I’ll join the chorus of those who hope that the state has more evidence than just the package being received at his home. I send and receive packages, to and from, people I don’t know all the time. (I buy and sell on eBay.)

If somebody wanted to set me up and sent me a single package containing contraband, I wouldn’t let the unfamiliar address prevent me from opening it right up. It’s a little scary.

The thought police yet again get their man.

Whether the package was meant for Mr. Watson or not, what’s more salient is that he is now and forevermore caught up in this absurd, foolhardy, increasingly unpopular life-destroying “war” on the abstraction that is “drugs.”

FredSanford is right.  Arresting consumers is “a waste of time and money.”  Indeed, our 80-year “war on drugs” has been a waste of police time and tax money.  Especially since the drugs keep winning.

Seriously, Everett?  “His picture looks like he is up to no good”?  How smiley would you be if you’d just been hauled in to custody on drug trafficking charges?  Sometimes a picture says almost no words.  (And “K-9 found him…and had some fun with him”?  Don’t look now, but your despotism is showing.)

Freedom of the individual includes freedom of the responsible individual’s private self.  Get the police out of our personal lives, our bedrooms, our basements and our bodies.  And stay out.

What a set up. Tom would never do such a thing. It is obvious from what is reported that a thorough investigation was not conducted. Agree with FredSanford. Tom is an upstanding member of our community. Shame on whoever framed him. His good name will be cleared and this case will be dismissed.

This is a weak case by the police. Who’s to say the next door neighbor didn’t order the drugs and was planning on stealing the package once it was delivered? But noticed the police and stayed home while the unknowing neighbor got a package and took it inside.

Maybe the authorities should be focused on where/who shipped the drugs. Arrest the Dealer. Users are a waste of time and money.

His picture looks like he is up to no good. Reminds of this guy I saw on the TV show COPS where he was fleeing police and jumped out of his car and foot bailed. Then the K-9 found him in the woods and had some fun with him.

A plausible defense. If all the authorities have on him is what is printed in this article, that defense will likely create reasonable doubt. He is presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, if they have computer, mail and/or telephone records or other evidence that establish a different fact pattern, he’s going to need more than “I hear” defenses. Let’s see how this plays out.

From what I hear that is only half the story and Mr. Watson was not expecting these packages, never opened them and had marked them return to sender with plans to mail them back the following day.  Sounds like some type of mail scam targeting individuals.

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