A former Nueces County risk assessment manager has been sentenced to 19 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to drug and firearms charges, according to a news release from the United States Attorney's Office Southern District of Texas.
Lance Esswein plead guilty in January 2020 to conspiring to possess, with the intent to distribute, methamphetamine and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
The 58-year-old previously served as the commanding officer of the U.S. Navy minesweeper U.S.S. Ardent, and worked as an adjunct professor at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
According to the release, the court heard details of Esswein's "less than honorable discharge from the U.S. Navy," and his termination from Nueces County.
"The court also heard Esswein had offered to arrange the murder of two local police officers to prevent their testimony in an unrelated drug case," the release states.
Esswein sold more than 100 grams of methamphetamine, after which officials then executed a search warrant at his residence in Portland.
Officials discovered more of the drug and firearms inside the residence, including loaded assualt rifles near the front door, the release states.
Further investigation into Esswein revealed storage units and vehicles with additional quantities of methanphetamine and other narcotics. Officials also discovered a total of 36 weapons, including stolen firearms and firearms with missing serial numbers.
According to the release, Senior U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack sentenced Esswein to serve 168 and 60 months for the drug and firearms convictions, respectively.
In determining the sentence, the release states Jack found Esswein responsible for distributing more than 4.5 kilograms of “ice.”
The sentences will be served consecutively for a total 228-month-term of imprisonment. The prison term will be immediately followed by five years of supervised release.
He remains in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility that is to be determined.