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Noted young poet charged with drug possession Washington College student won $56,169 as part of the Sophie Kerr Prize March 25, 2005 baltimoresun.com
A young Eastern Shore poet who won the nation's largest undergraduate literary prize last year has been charged with possession of marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms with intent to sell them near a school.
Angela Haley, 22, and her boyfriend, Joseph Paul Harrison, 23, were charged March 18 after deputies entered their Chestertown apartment and found drugs, scales and more than $5,000 in cash, said Lt. Scott Metzbower, supervisor of the Kent County sheriff's narcotics team.
Haley was profiled in The Sun in May after she won $56,169 as part of the Sophie Kerr Prize, a literary honor awarded each year to the best student writers at Washington College.
Phone calls to the couple's apartment Friday went unanswered. But last year, Haley told the paper she planned to use the money to pursue a master's degree in fine arts.
Investigators began receiving tips that Haley and Harrison were selling drugs in 2003, while she was a student at the college, and they continued the business out of their apartment on Morgnec Road, Metzbower said.
"They were both involved," Metzbower said of the couple. "We received citizen information as far back as two years ago, and then in the last six months the detectives received more information on it, so they got a search warrant."
John Buettner, spokesman for Washington College, said the evaluation process for the Kerr Prize does not include scrutiny of the student's personal life.
"Academic awards and scholarships are made on the basis of merit, and we can't legally inquire into the personal lives of our students," Buettner said. "We base these awards on their academic and creative merits alone."
The director of the college's creative writing program, Robert Mooney, said in May that Haley's poetry was excellent: "A heart of a true poet beats within these poems, there's no question about it. Poems seem to be the way she really converses with the world."
Haley and Harrison were charged with possession of marijuana and illegal mushrooms with an intent to distribute in a school zone, Metzbower said. The couple's apartment is within 1,000 feet of the private Radcliffe Creek School.