Gates lawmen nab federal fugitive

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 21, 2004

GATESVILLE – A routine traffic stop for speeding turned into much more here early Friday morning.

Michael Lee Harris, wanted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, was nabbed by the Gates County Sheriff’s Office following a traffic stop on NC 32 North.

Harris, 35, of Norfolk, Va. was wanted by the ATF for conspiracy to possess and distribute crack cocaine and morphine as well as manufacturing and possession of crack cocaine and morphine. In addition, Harris was wanted for possession of firearms in reference to trafficking narcotics. Those warrants were on file at the Norfolk ATF office.

&uot;(Harris) was, in no uncertain terms, a bad guy,&uot; said Gates County Sheriff Ed Webb. &uot;Our officers were very observant in making this arrest. They were on top of things and I’m extremely proud of their efforts.&uot;

The arrest stemmed from a 12:31 a.m. traffic stop initiated by GCSO Sgt. J.D. Wiggins who was on routine patrol when he clocked a vehicle traveling at 80 mph.

Sheriff Webb said Sgt. Wiggins became suspicious when Harris attempted to identify himself using more than one name.

&uot;It was at this time that Sgt. Wiggins called for assistance,&uot; noted Sheriff Webb.

GCSO Deputy Richard Haynes answered Wiggins’ call for help.

&uot;Both of our men said they noticed Mr. Harris and the driver of the vehicle (Douglas Perry) acting nervously when asked for consent to search the vehicle,&uot; stated the Sheriff.

No contraband was discovered in the vehicle. However, a check of Harris’ name came back as a wanted federal fugitive.

Perry was cited for speeding.

Harris is being held as a fugitive (without bond) in the Chowan County Jail, awaiting extradition into federal custody. Sheriff Webb said he had been contacted by ATF officials in regards to transferring Harris into federal custody as early as Monday.