By Patti Weaver


(Cushing, Okla.) — A 30-year-old Stillwater man accused of bringing tobacco pouches and Suboxone strips into the Cimarron Correctional Facility while he was an employee on Dec. 29 has been ordered to appear in court on Feb. 1 with an attorney on a felony charge of carrying contraband into the private prison in Cushing.
    Nolan James Higgins, 30, was arrested at 7:44 pm on Dec. 29, 2021, by Cushing Police Officer Jason Beal and held in the Payne County Jail until New Year’s Eve when he posted $10,000 bail on the charge punishable by one to five years in prison plus a fine of $100 to $1,000 on conviction, court records show.
    The Cushing police officer, who had prior experience as a correctional officer, was sent to the private prison at 6:21 pm that night on a report of an employee introducing contraband, his affidavit alleged.
    CCF lead investigator Greg Jones “advised me Higgins had been caught bringing in approximately 33 tobacco pouches and approximately 100 Suboxone strips. I observed open tobacco pouches and thin, yellow-colored strips with the number 8 stamped on them,” laid out on a table in the conference room, the Cushing officer alleged in his affidavit.
    Suboxone strips can be used to treat an opioid addiction, according to an Internet search.
“CCF staff played a video showing Higgins enter the CCF lobby. As he attempted to go into the metal detector, the metal detector indicated the presence of metal. Higgins attempted to enter again with the same effect.
    “After a few moments of standing in front of the metal detector, Higgins walked west to the men’s bathroom. Once he returned from the bathroom, he passed the metal detector into the facility.
    “I was advised by CCF staff that the front security guard had found the behavior to be suspicious and had the bathroom checked. Inside the bathroom, two cans of Jack Links jerky chew had been found with the contraband inside,” the Cushing officer alleged in his affidavit.
    After Higgins was advised of his Constitutional rights by the officer, “Investigator Jones asked Higgins if he would explain how we had gotten to this moment. Higgins admitted he had been dissatisfied at the job and stressed.
    “He had agreed to meet in Stillwater to pick up contraband, transport it into the jail, and give it to the inmates at the cost of $1,000 a container brought in. He stated he had picked up the containers today,” at about 5 pm before his shift.
    “He did not package the contraband and had thought there was something inside one of them that was setting off the metal detectors, which is why he had disposed of them in the bathroom. He stated he did not know exactly what was in the containers prior but suspected at least the Suboxone,” the affidavit alleged.
    “After speaking with Higgins, I placed him under arrest and transported him to the Cushing City Jail,” the Cushing police officer wrote in his affidavit.