Area businessman, Leesburg commission member, arrested on drug charges
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.