(02/23/2005)
Judge David Nibert sentenced Garland Ray Nichols, 55, of Grantsville to two consecutive terms of one-to-five years in the state penitentiary for drug offenses related to the sale of marijuana.

Nibert also fined Nichols $500 on each count during court held yesterday in Grantsville, according to Prosecutor Matt Minney.

Nichols had been found guilty of the delivery of a controlled substance following a "controlled purchase" arranged by the West Virginia State Police.

Police arranged for the electronic wiring of at least one of the two informants, both who testified that Nichols made an illegal sale to them.

During his trial Nichols addressed the jury on his own behalf, quoting constitutional law and saying authorities were interfering with his "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness."

When a search warrant was obtained for the Nichols residence, police found marked bills used during the drug buy and at least one "Tupperware container" of marijuana. Nichols' attorney questioned the use of informants, asking what they got out of the arrangement.

During the trial, Prosecutor Matt Minney clarified the chain of command used with the marijuana.

Nichols' brother, Millard Nichols of Grantsville, is incarcerated in a federal facility on federal drug charges.

- Eric Blake, pled to conspiracy to commit breaking and entering and will be sentenced.

- John M. Richards, attorney to file motions in March.

- James Blankenship, case rescheduled.

- Joseph Delesio, pled to a lesser charge than wanton endangerment, sentencing scheduled for later.


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