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A Niantic man on probation for drug and weapons offenses had two pit bulls trained to attack law enforcement officers and quantities of marijuana and illegal bath salts at his home during a recent search, according to the Department of Adult Probation.
Curtiss W. Nichols, 31, of 117 Edge Hill Road was charged Feb. 25 with three counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of sale of a controlled substance. Based on that arrest, he was charged in March with violation of probation. He is free on a total of $200,000 bond and is due to make his first appearance Thursday in the New London court where major crimes are heard.
Nichols had been released from prison in 2011 after serving four years for possession of cocaine with intent to sell, carrying a pistol without a permit and possession of a sawed-off shotgun. He was serving five years of probation during which he was to obey all laws, was prohibited from using drugs or alcohol and was subject to random searches of his residence.
According to a warrant affidavit prepared by Probation Officer John Watts, Nichols, who was required to submit to random urine screening, tested positive for marijuana several times. He admitted he used the drug to help cope with stress and was referred to a treatment program. In February, the probation office received a tip that Nichols was selling drugs from his girlfriend’s house on Black Point Road. Probation officers and police did not find any contraband during a search of the Black Point address, but the girlfriend advised them that Nichols trained his two pit bulls to attack law enforcement officers who entered his home on Edge Hill Road.
The Waterford Animal Control officers removed the two dogs from the home “for officer safety,” and officers from Adult Probation, East Lyme Police and state police conducted a search on Feb. 25. They said they located in Nichols’ bedroom a bag of marijuana, digital scales, baggies, $700 in cash and a pink crystal-like material known as MDPV or illegal bath salts.
During a 2007 search of Nichols’ home, polices found a large collection of weapons, including pistols with altered serial numbers, a sawed-off shotgun and an IED booby trap anti-personnel device, along with 32.2 grams of cocaine and 410 grams of marijuana.