La Crosse’s assistant police chief is calling on the county’s justice system to hold accountable a high-ranking convicted drug dealer released from prison in March after officers arrested him Tuesday with drugs and a gun.
Police searched Raymond Lewis’ house at 2826 South Ave. about 10 p.m. and seized 34 grams of heroin, 27 grams of cocaine, 2 grams of methamphetamine and a .22-caliber handgun, according to the agency.
Lewis, 37, faces eight drug charges and felon in possession of a firearm when he appears Thursday in La Crosse County Circuit Court. Also arrested on five drug charges is his fiancee, 35-year-old Christina Joswick.
Assistant Police Chief Rob Abraham said Lewis, arrested in 2012 for trafficking narcotics to La Crosse from Illinois to distribute to other dealers, is a threat to the community who must be held accountable by the judicial system.
“It is time we start putting the concerns of our community’s safety before the concerns of the offender,” he said.
In 2012, Lewis while on parole for drug trafficking charges sold hundreds of dollars worth of crack cocaine to informants before police raided his Mormon Coulee Road mobile home and rental car, where they found about $7,000 worth of cocaine, as well as marijuana, ecstasy, prescription pills, $4,544 cash and four children.
Lewis ran nude into a back bedroom and dove to the floor, reaching under the bed. One officer laid on top of him and ordered him to show his hands. When Lewis resisted, another officer punched him in the neck, breaking his hand in the process. The injury required pins and rehab.
He pleaded guilty to two of the 13 crimes filed against him, including possession with intent to deliver cocaine and resisting an officer causing bodily harm.
Prosecutors and investigators at Lewis’ sentencing in July 2013 tried to convince the judge to imprison him for 15 years, arguing the community is tired of those who fuel the drug trade.
“They want the criminal justice system to send a loud and clear message that drug dealers will pay a price if they choose La Crosse for their business,” La Crosse police Capt. Dan Kloss testified at the hearing.
Circuit Judge Todd Bjerke sentenced Lewis to six years in prison and three on extended supervision for resisting an officer. The judge also placed him on 15 years of probation on the drug charge and threatened a lengthy prison term if he violated conditions of his supervision.
“You’re a dangerous person, and you have to prove otherwise,” Bjerke said. “Mr. Lewis, this is your opportunity.”
Lewis, who also has convictions in Minnesota and Illinois, has past ties to the Gangster Disciples. In a 2010 case dropped by prosecutors, police arrested Lewis and his ex-wife after finding 16 grams of crack cocaine, two loaded handguns, ammunition, $3,000 cash and drug paraphernalia at their Jackson Street house.
Lewis, who enrolled in jail programming to aid his recovery and rehabilitation, said at his sentencing that was a changed man ready to be a father.
“I’m a better person now and all I ask is one chance to prove to my family and to the community that I can be a productive member of society,” he said.
Defense attorney Sean O’Neill warned that Lewis would emerge from prison as an “older drug dealer” and argued against using the “old model” of imprisoning non-violent drug offenders.
“We tried that in the ‘80s and ‘90s and what did it get us? More drugs. More violence,” O’Neill said. “It didn’t solve anything. Nothing.”