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Rochester man facing felony charges for suspected fentanyl

Benjamin Aaron Nichols II made his first appearance in Olmsted County District Court Friday morning on felony charges of first-degree drug sales, second-degree drug possession and possession of ammunition/any firearm-conviction for crime of violence.

Nichols, Benjamin 8.19.21.jpg
Benjamin Nichols

A Rochester man was arrested Thursday after law enforcement said they found more than 140 grams of suspected fentanyl in his possession.

Benjamin Aaron Nichols II made his first appearance in Olmsted County District Court Friday morning on felony charges of first-degree drug sales, second-degree drug possession and possession of ammunition/any firearm-conviction for crime of violence.

Judge Lisa Hayne set unconditional bail at $200,000. His next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 31.

On Thursday, members of the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office, the Rochester Police Department and the Southeast Minnesota Violent Crimes Enforcement Team executed a search warrant at two locations alleged to be connected to Nichols.

At a residence in the 6000 block of South Pointe Drive Southwest, police reportedly found 119.2 grams of suspected fentanyl as well as a 26.6 grams of suspected fentanyl packaged into 48 separate bindles and 60 capsules of suspected fentanyl.

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The exact make up of the suspected drugs police confiscated will be determined by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Two loaded 9 mm handguns and a Smith and Wesson handgun with a loaded magazine and a chambered round were also found, according to the criminal complaint.

Officers found a small amount of suspected fentanyl and $1,021 in cash at a second location in the 2700 block of Marion Road Southeast. Nichols is ineligible to possess a firearm as a result of an earlier drug conviction.

"Nichols admitted that he sold the controlled substances but believed he was selling heroin," the criminal complaint states. "Nichols admitted that he commonly went to parks and a local homeless shelter to sell controlled substances."

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Emily Cutts is the Post Bulletin's public safety reporter. She joined the Post Bulletin in July 2018 after stints in Vermont and Western Massachusetts.
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