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Pipe bomb suspect jailed

By By Lisa Tindell
Gregory Wendall Nichols remains in custody at the Escambia County Detention Center on a $100,000 bond following a pair of arrests stemming from the discovery of pipe bombs in his vehicle on July 5 in Flomaton.
Nichols, 45, of 261 Powell Circle in Flomaton faced a federal court judge on charges of possession of an unregistered explosive device. Following the hearing, Nichols was released on his own recognizance on Thursday afternoon, July 6.
Flomaton Police, the Escambia County Sheriff's Department and the 21st Judicial Task Force worked quickly to bring Nichols back into custody on July 7, to be detained on the state class C felony charges. The charge listed on the arrest record was for unlawful possession of explosives.
According to Mike Messenger, an agent with the Alabama Department of Tobacco and Firearms, who assisted in the original arrest, Nichols faces state charges of manufacturing of an explosive device in addition to the federal and other state charges.
Mike Messenger, a supervisor with the ATF agency, said Nichols gave consent to search his residence on Powell Circle in Flomaton.
"Components used in making the pipe bombs, or 'crickets' were found at his residence," Messenger said. "We also discovered several firearms at the residence as well."
Although more than 20 firearms were found at the Nichols residence, no charges were filed in connection with possession of the weapons, Flomaton Police Chief Mike Lambert said.
"It's not against the law to own guns if they are registered," Lambert said. "There won't be any charges brought against him in regard to the firearms.
A detention hearing scheduled Tuesday in Mobile was continued by a federal judge.
"Since he is being held in Escambia County on a $100,000 bond, the court decided to continue the hearing," Lambert said. "The hearing was not cancelled, just continued until such time that Nichols makes bond and has the potential of being released."