A Hannibal man facing a felony charge of possession of a controlled substance stemming from an Apri drug bust in Hannibal requested a change of judge on Monday, May 20.

A Hannibal man facing a felony charge of possession of a controlled substance stemming from an Apri drug bust in Hannibal requested a change of judge on Monday, May 20.

Joshua R. Nichols, of Hannibal, appeared by videoconference before Judge Jackson in Marion County Associate Court. Defense attorney Jennifer Richardson represented the defendant. Marion County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Gareth Cooksey represented the state.

Jackson granted the defense request for a change of judge, sending the matter to 10th Circuit Court Presiding Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd for reassignment. Nichols also faces misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession and unlawful use of drug paraphernalia in a separate case. Jackson continued that case for 8:15 a.m. Friday, May 27. Initially, four people were arrested during the execution of a narcotics search warrant Tuesday, April 12, at 548 Lunar Drive.

The Hannibal Police Department's Anti-Crime Enforcement Squad (ACES) members reported finding items used for the manufacture and distribution of narcotics — believed to be methamphetamine. Law enforcement officials seized paraphernalia items at the scene and arrested individuals on various charges.

Gera M. Hatfield-Sinclair, 25, of Hannibal, is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 9 a.m. Monday, May 23, for felony charges of resisting arrest and hindering prosecution during the search.

Jason S. Bates, 33, of Hannibal, pleaded guilty to violating probation and felony possession of a controlled substance. He received a five-year sentence with the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Nichols remains incarcerated in the Marion County Jail on $10,000 and $2,500 cash or surety bonds.

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com