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.

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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.