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Man arrested for drug possession was reportedly selling oregano as marijuana at Grace Marketplace

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

GAINESVILLE, FL – Jamel Leron Nichols, 36, was arrested early this morning after drugs were allegedly discovered in the car during a traffic stop on I-75. A bag of oregano was also reportedly found in the car, and another occupant of the car reportedly told an Alachua County Sheriff’s Deputy that Nichols had been selling the oregano at Grace Marketplace but telling purchasers it was marijuana.

The deputy reported that he followed the car after he saw the driver commit a traffic violation on Newberry Road and then noticed that the front window tint was likely illegal. He performed a traffic stop on I-75 and tested the window tint, determining that it was illegal. While testing the window tint, he reported that he smelled marijuana coming from within the vehicle and saw a marijuana blunt sitting in the center console. He asked Nichols to get out of the car and reported that Nichols became defensive.

A probable-cause search of the vehicle reportedly found 1.04 grams of MDMA (Ecstasy) in a center compartment, and the deputy found a green leafy substance, later identified as oregano, on Nichols’ seat. The oregano was packaged in a sandwich bag as if it were marijuana. A shopping bag from a local supermarket, containing oregano, was also found in the car. Three bags of marijuana were also reportedly found in a purse in the back seat.

The driver of the car reportedly told the deputy that Nichols was trying to sell “beans” (Ecstasy) and that he had bought the bag of oregano that day and had been selling it as marijuana at Grace Marketplace and in other parts of Gainesville.

Post Miranda, Nichols reportedly declined to speak with the deputy. Nichols has four felony convictions and several misdemeanor drug convictions. Drug possession charges were dropped in 2019 after a judge agreed with Nichols’ lawyer that a responding Gainesville Police Department officer had neglected to “change hats” from investigating a crash to establishing probable cause for the vehicle search and reading Nichols his Miranda rights before asking questions about the drugs. Nichols is currently on federal probation on a charge of “VIOLENT CRIME/DRUGS/MACHINE GUN.”

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Nichols has been charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and possession of dangerous drugs with the intent to sell. He is being held on $65,000 bail.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

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