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City gets $66,000 from big drug bust

Harrison gets no jail time, but city keeps drug cash

August 25, 2010|Michael Broihier
  • The Stanford Police Department got to retain the lion’s share of $77,870 in cash taken in a Kings Mountain drug bust. The money funded two new cruisers, weapons and tactical equipment for officers. (IJ file photo)
The Stanford Police Department got to retain the lion’s share of $77,870 in cash taken in a Kings Mountain drug bust. The money funded two new cruisers, weapons and tactical equipment for officers. (IJ file photo)

This week, an avid Interior Journal reader admonished your editor in a letter about him dropping the ball and not keeping track of the story of Nelson Harrison. Harrison, as we were reminded, was arrested almost exactly a year ago at his Kings Mountain home by Stanford police officers based on a tip received from the subject of a traffic stop. Caught with a substantial amount of marijuana, the subject told the police that Harrison was his source. Until the night of his arrest, Harrison had no previous contact with local law enforcement and no known previous criminal record. “This guy was completely beneath the radar,” Stanford Police Chief Keith Middleton said at the time.

After obtaining a warrant, officers raided Harrison’s log home on KY 501 and fortunately, the doors to what Middleton described as a “fortress” were unbarred. Both Harrison and his wife, Tiwana Harrison, had weapons within reach but Middleton said, “We rolled in there so fast that he didn’t have time to respond.”

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Both of the Harrisons were arrested that night, and officers seized 19 firearms, a pound of marijuana, 350 prescription pills and $77,870 in cash.

When he was arrested, Harrison was charged with felony trafficking in marijuana and felony trafficking in controlled substances, but on Feb. 10, he pled guilty to one count of possession of marijuana while in possession of a firearm, one count of possession of a controlled substance while in possession of a firearm and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. On the same day, Tiwana Harrison pled guilty to the offense of complicity to possession of marijuana while in possession of a firearm. On March 12, Nelson Harrison was sentenced to five years in prison for the marijuana charge, one year for the controlled substance charge and a year for the paraphernalia charge, all to run concurrently; the judge probated the prison sentences for five years.

Though Harrison walked out of court that day, he was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, court costs and forfeit all of the weapons and cash that were seized in the raid. Tiwana Harris was sentenced to three years for the complicity charge, but probated for five years.

In May, a judge directed the Stanford Police Department to give almost $10,000 of the seized money to the Commonwealth Attorney’s office and $2,000 to the County Attorney’s office which left the city police with over $66,000. Middleton said that money awarded to law enforcement must be spent on either equipment or training, and since the money was awarded to the department, he has purchased two new cruisers, some new weapons for the department and some ancillary equipment for his officers. The cruisers ended up being an even better deal for the department when they found out that there was a federal program that would pay for a third cruiser if a local law enforcement agency would pay for two.

Nothing ever came of a ledger book recovered at Harrison’s home that seemed to contain an extensive list of buyers’ names and amounts owed. Routine transactions were for $15,000 to $20,000, with some as high as $40,000. At the request of the SPD, when the story first ran, The Interior Journal did not reveal that the names in ledgers were all nicknames so there was no way to tie buyers to Harrison.

A SPD officer said Monday that they had recently arrested Harrison’s son, Simon Harrison, saying “We’ve been trying to run him down forever.”

The younger Harrison was a passenger in a vehicle pulled over by the SPD during a routine traffic stop, and Harrison fled the vehicle before it came to a complete stop. When he was apprehended, he told officers he ran because he had two felony warrants awaiting him and was in possession of marijuana. He was charged with tampering with physical evidence, resisting arrest, fleeing or evading police, assault, disorderly conduct and giving an officer a false name.

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