By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
An Atmore man recently experienced one of his unluckiest days ever, while luck and time ran out again for a Nokomis man who is no stranger to a county jail cell. The pair became the most recent casualties in an ongoing crackdown by city and county law enforcement on felony drug crimes.
Atmore Police Chief Chuck Brooks confirmed this week that Zachary Benjamin Thomas, 34, of Atmore was arrested on several charges, eventually including first-degree marijuana possession, after a late-night traffic stop on July 20.
Thomas got an indication of what kind of night it would be when he was pulled over by police as he drove along Medical Park Drive around 10:50 p.m. in a vehicle without taillights.
Things began to run downhill quickly for Thomas when officers found out from a computer check that the Atmore man was driving on a suspended license. Police also recognized that the smoke they were smelling wasn’t coming from the vehicle’s exhaust.
“They detected a strong smell of what is believed to be marijuana,” Brooks said. “They obtained consent to search the car, then found a Ruger .22-caliber (handgun) on the floorboard. They also found a glass pipe commonly used to smoke marijuana, along with a plastic bag containing a green, leafy substance believed to be marijuana.”
Just when it looked like things couldn’t get worse for the suspect, they did. The amount of marijuana he had was relatively nominal, but his past reached out and grabbed him.
“We found out he had a second-degree possession arrest previously, so the charge was enhanced to a felony,” Brooks reported, citing Alabama Criminal Code.
An employee of the Escambia County Detention Center’s booking and release division reported that Thomas was booked on one count each of first-degree possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a weapon for which a license is required. He was released from the facility July 23 after a $5,000 bond was posted.
Details were unavailable at Tuesday’s press deadline, but county jail records indicate that a Nokomis man, no stranger to such charges, was arrested last week by sheriff’s and federal officers for possession of methamphetamine.
The jail website shows that Phillip Aubrey Weaver, 39, of Nokomis is charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance. The location at which he was taken into custody was not disclosed.
Sheriff’s records show that ECSO officers made the arrest, with the assistance of U.S. Marshals. It marked the fifth time since 2012 that Weaver has been jailed here, with all but one of the previous arrests also resulting from felony drug possession. The most recent was in May of this year.
Weaver was reportedly released under a $5,000 bond just hours after he was booked into the facility.