14 Apr THE PERSECUTION OF NATHAN FOX
In mid to late January Pittsburg County earned the title of a “high trafficking area” and with that designation came more funds for law enforcement to fight the drug war. Prior to this designation McAlester Police Officer Chris Morris announced his intent to seek the Sheriff’s position in Pittsburg County. Also around this same time Nathan Fox was a guy living in McAlester.
On January 29, 2016, two days before the McAlester News Capital would report about the “high drug trafficking area” designation, the District 18 Drug Task Force sought a warrant for Mr. Fox’s home. The warrant request was based upon two anonymous complaints (if these people exist we will never know who they are) and a “trash pull” that officers say contained items that smelled like marijuana. It should also be disclosed that Nathan Fox is the nephew of Task Force Agent Kevin Fox, they have been estranged for some time prior to this incident.
On Wednesday February 3rd, three days after the News Capital article, Task Force agents along with OBN agents went into Mr. Fox’s home. They placed Mr. Fox and his mother in restraints and searched the home. According to their “search warrant return” they found some marijuana residue. However, it would be more appropriate to say that this is merely alleged. Until an independent test is done to confirm, which may not be possible if all of the material was destroyed during testing by the state, it is just allegations.
Possession of Marijuana, even residue, which cannot be smoked or consumed for a high, is a misdemeanor in Oklahoma, but can be a predicate to a felony if one has past drug convictions, and Nathan Fox has no prior convictions at all. In this case the residue would be a misdemeanor, however the ingenuity of the agents on the scene would soon become evident.
Although possession of residue would be a misdemeanor, if one happens to be within 1000 feet of a school or park, then it may be charged as a felony. The agents got to measuring, and it just so happens that Mr. Fox’s home is approximately 735 feet from a park. Bingo! Now it’s a felony drug bust just the kind that would justify Pittsburg County’s new designation. But, that was just the beginning…the prosecution of Nathan Fox would pale in comparison to the persecution of Nathan Fox.
The following day reporter Ashli Lincoln of Fox 23 News in Tulsa arrived in McAlester. As her news report began the lead in called viewers’ attention to the fact that “money and manpower are heading to McAlester to help fight the city’s drug problem”. Next Ms. Lincoln appeared to discuss how McAlester had a trafficking problem and the previous day officers had arrested Nathan Fox. Mr. Fox’s mugshot, home, and reactions from neighbors about what it’s like to live next to a drug dealer, flashed across the screen. Next Ms. Lincoln interviewed Pittsburg County Sherriff Candidate and McAlester Police Officer, Chris Morris. Mr. Morris continued the narrative about drug dealers while standing in front of Mr. Fox’s home.
By the time of the interview agents including Mr. Morris would have full knowledge that no evidence existed or collected as a result of the raid was consistent with drug trafficking or dealing. Officers had booked Mr. Fox into the county jail on trumped up POSSESSION charges, not any form of distribution. The Pittsburg County District Attorney’s Office would file felony possession charges against Mr. Fox.
Mr. Fox requested a setting for preliminary hearing. At preliminary hearing the state would have to show probable cause that Mr. Fox had committed the crime charged. Also at preliminary hearing the state could have been forced to defend the warrant application and collection of evidence. That hearing would have occurred today.
However, the state has decided to dismiss the felony charge against Mr. Fox and pursue only a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana (residue). This come 2 ½ months after armed agents invaded his home, placed his mother in handcuffs, told his neighbors he was a drug dealer, and sought to have his home, and his face broadcast on television. And what was all this for? Federal funds and political contests. Welcome to the War on Drugs.
Here is the link to Fox 23’s report. Watch the whole thing does it sound like Nathan Fox might be a guy that police claim had marijuana residue in his home?