A Dopey Letter! 

A Dopey Letter! 
Posted by FoM on January 30, 1999 at 15:39:34 PT

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS "I feel a little funny putting this all down on paper," a letter to the state prison inmate said. "It seems risky to me. I know that you said that they don't read your mail, and I guess they wouldn't have time to read everyone's."
But the Staunton Rd. letter writer was wrong, police said.She learned yesterday that they do screen inmate mail at Ohio prisons, and when a letter is about the health of marijuana plants growing in a Cleveland Heights basement, police officers read the letters, too.Yesterday, police showed up on the woman's doorstep with a copy of her letter and a search warrant. The officers departed with 10 marijuana plants, a grow light, a fan, computer equipment and a homemade pipe designed for marijuana smoking."Cultivation of marijuana is a felony crime in Ohio," Chief Martin Lentz said. "In reading the letter, the language is quite clear that there was an intention to distribute."The woman, who was not arrested, declined to comment. Police plan to present the case to a grand jury.She wrote the letter Monday to Michael Scott Drippon, who is serving a 20-year sentence for murder in the state prison in Lucasville, according to Cleveland Heights Municipal Court records. Drippon shot 15-year-old Michael Scislo from a moving car in August 1992 in Medina County.Court records show the woman's letter opens with a discussion of her health problems and moves on to what she describes as her farm."When we got home from the doctor's," the letter says, "Fred watered the plants. I usually don't go down there, but this time I did, and let me tell you, they look so sweet. They all have strong-looking stems. (Fred put a fan in there to simulate the natural breezes like if they were outside) and they are so green. As you can tell, I am very excited about all of this."Later in the letter, she discusses harvesting the plants."We'll see about that family discount, too," she wrote. "We can work something out, like maybe a consignment."Drippon never received the letter. Instead, prison officials faxed it to police Thursday, and detectives obtained the warrant. They found the plants, most about a foot tall and growing in clay pots, in a basement pantry, Lentz said. Ohio courts consider a marijuana plant of any size to be the equivalent of a pound of harvested marijuana, Lentz said.Police arrested a man at the house.In the letter, the woman also discusses smoking her "Beer Bottle Bong," and police seized a homemade marijuana pipe composed of a beer bottle and some tubing. In the letter, the woman says she has been smoking the pipe too often, forcing her to borrow money to buy her "stuff.""I am used to buying my own weed," the letter says.1999 THE PLAIN DEALER. Used with permission.
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