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Officer catches wanted man with drugs for second time

Nickolas Garth Smith
Nickolas Garth Smith

A Leesburg man sought for drug possession was arrested for it again by the same officer who caught him the first time. 

Police observed a blue Chevy truck sitting at a stop sign in the Wells Fargo parking lot, located at 350 East Burleigh Boulevard, at 1:57 a.m. Sept. 19, according to an arrest report from the Tavares Police Department. 

The driver, later identified as 41-year-old Nickolas Garth Smith, was not parked in a spot and sat there for over a minute with nobody entering or exiting the vehicle. The officer drove behind the vehicle to run its plates. He then recognized Smith from previous contact and a felony warrant for possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia that was recently signed by a judge, the report said. 

As the officer sat behind the vehicle, he saw the driver’s side window roll down. Smith looked at the officer and slowly began to move through the parking lot onto the access road toward St. Clair Abrams Avenue. He approached U.S. Hwy. 441 and used the left lane to turn west where the officer initiated a traffic stop. Both vehicles came to rest in the 7-Eleven parking lot at the corner of Banning Beach and U.S. Hwy. 44, the report said. 

The officer proceeded to speak with Smith and the female passenger. When asked why they were sitting at a stop sign, Smith advised he used the ATM and had just returned to the vehicle. He complied to stepping out of the vehicle for further questioning, the report said. 

The officer next asked Smith if he remembered an incident in December 2020 where he was found passed out behind the wheel with a bag of white powdery substance and open containers in plain view, the report said. He stated that he did, and the officer explained the substance tested positive for cocaine. Due to the positive test, the officer had an active warrant and was able to detain Smith. 

While he did so, the officer asked Smith if he could search his vehicle, which he declined. However, a cut straw commonly used to snort narcotics was visible in the cup holder of the center console through the window. A clear tied bag with a white substance was also visible under the straw, the report said. 

A probable cause search resulted in the officer finding a hotel card with white residue all over one side which is commonly used to break up cocaine powder into lines prior to using a straw to snort it. The substance tested positive for cocaine and weighed 3.51 grams inside the bag, the report said. 

The report noted the substance was in the same general area of the vehicle as it was months prior when the officer found about 7 grams of cocaine in the vehicle within plain view. 

Smith was subsequently arrested for the warrant and received additional charges of possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. He was transported to the Lake County Jail and released after posting $6,000 bond.

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