30BUCKHANNON – A Buckhannon man who allegedly told police he’d purchased more than $15,000 in fake currency on Amazon.com for $7.99 because he was “tired” of spending all his real money on drugs is being held in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail.
Andrew David Harrison, 21, was charged with three crimes Saturday, all stemming from a traffic stop at McDonald’s in Buckhannon, according to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s office.
Investigating officer Deputy Tyler Gordon with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department charged Harris with possession of counterfeit with intent to utter, a felony; possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, a misdemeanor; and driving under the influence of a narcotic, methamphetamine, also a misdemeanor.
According to Gordon’s report, he spotted a blue Hyndai Elantra traveling south on Route 20 in Buckhannon on Saturday, Oct. 27, and upon noticing the vehicle’s license plate had a defective plate light, the officer recognized the car.
The Elantra had allegedly been used in a theft several days prior based on information Gordon had gleaned from Sheetz employees and surveillance footage.
After two searches for the vehicle’s registration and vehicle identification number indicated the Elantra was improperly registered, Gordon initiated a traffic stop as the Elantra turned into the McDonald’s parking lot, according to the file.
As Gordon approached the car, he noticed Harris was “physically shaking from nervousness,” he wrote, and when the deputy asked Harris about his insurance and registration information, Harris allegedly kept trying to get Gordon to follow him back to his house so he could retrieve his insurance information.
At that point, Gordon contacted Sgt. Marshall Powers and K-9 officer AJ for assistance. When the two arrived on scene, Gordon asked Harris to step out of the vehicle. When Harris complied, the deputy allegedly saw Harris try to hide something in his left pocket.
Gordon restrained Harris and found a small bag containing a crystal-like substance the officer suspected was methamphetamine on the vehicle seat, the complaint states.
Upon searching the vehicle, Gordon allegedly recovered a meth smoking device and several small used bags.
“[Harris] admitted that the substance was his ‘ice,’ another term for crystal methamphetamine,” Gordon wrote in the report.
But that wasn’t all the officer found: Gordon also allegedly discovered $15,770 in paper currency “counterfeit in nature,” with all bills of same value displaying identical serial numbers, the file says.
According to Gordon, some bills even had the word “COPY” stamped on the face.
Despite being read his Miranda rights, Harris allegedly told the deputy he’d purchased the counterfeit money on Amazon.com for $7.99, saying he was “tired of spending all his money on dope, so [he] bought fake money to use,” the complaint states.
Harris allegedly admitted to already having spent two of the fake $100 bills to purchase methamphetamine.
The complaint also says Gordon administered three standard field sobriety tests to Harris, during which Harris demonstrated multiple signs of impairment, including telling Gordon, “I’m just high, I’m high’ at one point.
Gordon noted Harris displayed “erratic” behavior commonly connected to meth use over the course of three hours from the time he was pulled over to his arrival at the Tygart Valley Regional Jail.
Harris allegedly admitted to smoking meth several hours before the stop, the file indicates.
Magistrate Mike Coffman set bail at $50,000 cash or surety.
The penalty for a conviction of first-offense DUI of a narcotic, methamphetamine, is confinement in jail for up to six months and a fine ranging from $100-$500.
Being found guilty for possession of a controlled substance, meth, warrants confinement in jail for a term no less than 90 days but no more than six months.
Meanwhile, the penalty for a conviction of possession of counterfeit with intent to utter is imprisonment in the state penitentiary for a term of one to five years.