6.5 Morris

Contributed photo/NCSO

 Joe Justin Morris, 58

JASPER -- What started as a traffic stop on an RV for expired tags turned into a pursuit that led onto a dirt road and the arrest of a 58-year-old man on drug charges, Newton County Sheriff Glenn Wheeler reports.

According to Wheeler, Newton County Deputy Chase Smith initiated a traffic stop on a 2004 RV about 3:15 a.m. Friday, May 31, in Jasper.

But the driver refused to stop and a pursuit ensued onto Highway 74 East. The driver pulled onto a dirt road and eventually onto a grassy area to turn around, then got stuck, Wheeler said.

The driver, later identified as 58-year-old Joe Justin Morris, fled on foot from the scene, but Smith, along with Deputy Levi Lowery and K-9 unit Cora, apprehended him.

Follow up investigation led to deputies seizing approximately 74 grams of methamphetamine, along with other drugs and paraphernalia, with a street value of approximately $70,000, the sheriff said.

Morris was booked into the Newton County Jail and later taken before a judge, then charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, six counts of felony possession of drug paraphernalia, five counts of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, seven counts of misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance (less than 4 ounces), fleeing in a vehicle, fleeing on foot, careless or prohibited driving, no vehicle license, fictitious tags and driving on a suspended driver's license with bond set at $25,000, Wheeler said.

"Methamphetamine and the people who sell it are poisoning our communities and our citizens, leading to most everything my office deals with,” Wheeler said in a statement. “My deputies did a good job on this case, taking a key Newton County dealer out of the loop for a little while. Others will take his place, but we'll be just as happy to lock them up as we were to lock Mr. Morris up."

Records show that Morris, who had been living in the Deer area at the time, was still being held Tuesday night in the Newton County Jail on those charges and a warrant for probation/parole violation.

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