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Two arrested by Middlesboro Police after record checkpoint seizure of Cocaine and Methamphetamine

From WRIL The Big One -

On Thursday, September 7, 2023, Middlesboro Police Officers led by Sgt./Det. Ryan Collins, were conducting a traffic safety checkpoint on Highway 25E at an approved location. During this operation, a 2023 white Jeep Wagoner rental came through the checkpoint.


Upon contact, officers asked the driver, 39-year-old Joseph Zackary Nicholson of Richmond, Ky., for his license and proof of insurance. Nicholson stated the vehicle was rented and he could not show proof of insurance or the rental agreement.


During the roadside investigation, officers questioned Nicholson and his passenger, 46-year-old David Hale of Lexington, Ky. Both were acting nervous and had inconsistent travel stories. Also, while talking to Hale, the officers noticed a large bulge on his right side waistband. These factors led the officers to determine the pair was involved in criminal activity and a search followed.

Hale was found in possession of a large amount of suspected crack cocaine and a used crack pipe on one side of his waistband with several pounds of suspected Methamphetamine in the front.


Inside the vehicle, a Disney bag with a large zip lock baggie was found containing a crystal-like substance believed to be Methamphetamine. Also found was large sum of money.


Both men were arrested and lodged in the Bell County Detention Center.


Joseph Nicholson was charged with trafficking in a controlled substance - 1st degree, 1st offense - greater than or equal to 4 grams (Cocaine), trafficking in a controlled substance - 1st degree, 1st offense - greater than 2 grams (Methamphetamine), trafficking in a controlled substance - 1st degree, 1st offense - less than 2 grams (Methamphetamine), failure to produce insurance card, and persistent felony offender II.


Davis Hale was charged with trafficking in a controlled substance - 1st degree, 1st offense - greater than or equal to 4 grams (Cocaine), trafficking in a controlled substance - 1st degree, 2nd offense - greater than 2 grams (Methamphetamine), trafficking in a controlled substance - 1st degree, 1st offense - less than 2 grams (Methamphetamine), buying/possessing drug paraphernalia, tampering with physical evidence, and persistent felony offender I.


Both are being held under $50,000 cash bonds each.

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