Marijuana and alligators an illegal and lethal mix

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 22, 2003

Possession of marijuana is illegal. So is possession of alligators. David W. Nichols learned that the hard way.

Nichols, 23, of Selma, was indicted by a Dallas County grand jury Wednesday on charges of unlawful possession of marijuana first degree and taking possession of alligators.

Both are class C felonies that carry penalties of one to 10 years if Nichols is found guilty.

The indictment stems from evidence found at Nichols’ Doe Run Road address Feb. 26 after Selma Police Department officers executed a search warrant.

According to Selma Police Department Public Information Officer Lt. David Evans, police received information of drugs being at Nichols’ residence. After obtaining a search warrant, officers found marijuana plants at his house.

When officers arrived at the scene, they noticed a number of snakes and called State of Alabama game wardens Mark Rouleau and Joe Johnston. However, while waiting for the game wardens to arrive, officers stumbled on a different breed of animal.

Officers had previously been to Nichols’ residence in a 2001 incident in which four different poisonous snakes were found and subsequently transported to the Birmingham Zoo.

In February, snakes were found at the bottom of a glass watchcase, which was being used to grow the marijuana plants. The alligators &045;&045; three total &045;&045; were in a trough.

Once the game wardens arrived, the animals were taken into custody. Wardens released the alligators into the Alabama River.

Nichols’ arraignment is expected to occur in the next 30-45 days. He will be informed of the charges against him and could possibly enter a plea.

A trial date for Nichols will be set at that time.