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Ocala felon arrested on drug and gun charges

Jason Benjamin Nieves

An Ocala man convicted of kidnapping in 2008 is back behind bars after drugs and a handgun were found in his vehicle during a traffic stop last week.

Jason Benjamin Nieves, 36, of 4448 SW 125th Ave., was charged with possession of a weapon by a convicted Florida felon, possession of cocaine, possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, and operating a motor vehicle without a valid license. A criminal history check shows Nieves was convicted of kidnapping an adult for ransom in June 2008 in Hillsborough County.

At around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, a Marion County sheriff’s deputy pulled over a gray 2014 Toyota Corolla that was traveling east on East Silver Springs Boulevard with its tag light out. Nieves, who was the driver and sole occupant, told the deputy it wasn’t his car and was unable to find the vehicle registration. Asked if there were any firearms in the vehicle, Nieves said there were not, according to the sheriff’s office report.

A computer check showed Nieves’ license is currently suspended and he has an active warrant out of Hillsborough County for failure to appear in court for not having a motor vehicle registration, the report said.

Nieves was placed under arrest. The deputy searched the vehicle and found a black Smith and Wesson .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun in the glove box. There was a box of Newport cigarettes on the front seat that contained a small white cigarette with out a filter and a burnt end. Inside the cigarette was a green and brown leafy substance that tested positive for marijuana. Also inside the cigarette box was a small clear bag containing a white powder that tested positive for cocaine, according to the report.

After being read his Miranda warning, Nieves told the deputy he didn’t know his license was suspended and also didn’t know the firearm was in the vehicle. He said he found the bag of cocaine at work and thought there was enough there that he’d be able to use, the report said.

Nieves was taken to the Marion County Jail, where he was being held on $13,500 bond. He is scheduled to appear in Marion County Court on March 30.

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