The managing editor of a local news website was arrested for allegedly selling methamphetamine on Friday, May 31, according to an arrest report on file at the Dayton Police Department.
Elmer Harris, 44, of Spring City and managing editor of RheaReview.com, is facing drug-related charges after officers with the Dayton Police Department set up a controlled buy on Friday in the parking lot of the Dayton Waffle House at around 7 p.m.
According to the arrest report, Dayton police received a call regarding drug activity at a local hotel. Once at the scene, Dayton police officer Justin Jackson said that he received information that Harris had contacted a man about “buying an 8 ball of dope.”
Jackson said that the man gave him Harris’ cell phone number and that he could arrange a purchase of methamphetamine.
“[He] called Elmer Harris in my presence and told him that he had the money for the ‘8 ball of meth,’” Jackson said. “They agreed on a price of $200.”
The man was told by officers to arrange the buy at the Waffle House parking lot in Dayton, according to the report, and was given a recording device and $200 cash.
Jackson said that surveillance units watched Harris’ vehicle, a 2001 Mercedes, enter the parking lot and the man entered Harris’ car.
“The deal was made,” Jackson said. “The money was exchanged for 3.86 grams of methamphetamine.”
Once the purchase was made, Jackson said that the drugs were recovered and that Harris was immediately stopped by Dayton police officers as he left the Waffle House parking lot.
Once Harris was in custody, officers searched his vehicle, and Jackson said that they found an additional 50.99 grams of methamphetamine, product that was labeled LSD and the $200 cash that had been used in the purchase.
Harris has also done website design contracting work for various entities in the county, local officials confirmed earlier this week. Harris designed website for the Rhea County Election Commission, the sheriff’s department and the Rhea Economic and Tourism Council. Rhea County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy John Argo said the department will no longer contract with Harris after the arrest. RETC Chair Gary Louallen said that executive director Dennis Tumlin would likely make a similar decision, but he could not be reached for comment as of press time Tuesday and neither could officials with the election commission.
According to public records, Harris has several felony arrests since 2002, primarily for possession of a Schedule II (meth), III, IV and VI (marijuana) controlled substances and violation of probation or parole.
Harris is being charged with the manufacture, delivery, sale or possession of methamphetamine for resale as well as possession of a Schedule I controlled substance for resale.
According to jail records, his bond was set at $150,000, and he was still incarcerated as of press time Tuesday. Court records show his next court date is set for Tuesday, June 18.