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Home / Articles / News / Strange News /  Police leave ransom note for pot plants, nab alleged grower
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Wednesday, January 6,2010

Police leave ransom note for pot plants, nab alleged grower

By McClatchy-Tribune News Service

MARATHON, Fla. — After a citizen's tip led undercover detectives to six large marijuana plants growing in a wooded lot in the Florida Keys, police half-jokingly left a phone number and ransom note.

"Thanks for the grow! You want them back? Call for the price ... We'll talk."

Ten minutes later, the phone rang.

Steven Locascio, 48, negotiated $200 to get his six-foot-tall plants back and arranged a meeting place, authorities say.

"He's got to win one of America's dumbest criminal awards," said Monroe County, Fla., Sheriff's Col. Rick Ramsay. "The plants were worth about $1,000 each. So he probably thought it was a good deal."

The undercover detectives loaded the plants into a pickup truck and met Locascio, who handed over the cash — and was arrested.

A court-approved search of his apartment turned up 20 smaller pot plants, four pounds of freshly harvested pot in a freezer and several 80 milligram Oxycontin pills. Detectives also seized $1,380 in cash.

Locascio and his wife, Christine, 50, were charged with cultivation of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and sale of marijuana.

"The detectives left the note as a last ditch effort, thinking he would never call," Ramsay said. "But sometimes people do stupid things."

(c) 2010, The Miami Herald.

Visit The Miami Herald Web edition on the World Wide Web at http://www.herald.com/

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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