Posted on Tuesday, 01.05.10
BY CAMMY CLARK
MARATHON -- After a citizen's tip led undercover detectives to six large marijuana plants growing in a vacant wooded lot in the Florida Keys, the detectives half jokingly left a ransom note.
``Thanks for the grow! You want them back? Call for the price (305) 481-4494. We'll talk.''
The detectives never expected the grower of the illegal drugs to call. But 10 minutes later, he did.
``He's got to win one of America's dumbest criminal awards,'' said Col. Rick Ramsay of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.
Steven Locascio, 48, negotiated to get his six-foot-tall pot plants back for $200, saying he couldn't believe he had to pay to get his own marijuana back.
``He probably put a lot of sweat and hard work and energy into growing the plants,'' Ramsay said. ``The plants were worth about $1,000 each. So he probably thought it was a good deal to get them back for only $200.''
The undercover detectives loaded the six plants in the back of a pickup truck and drove to the corner of Coco Plum Drive and Avenue H in Marathon. After Locasio handed over the cash, he was arrested.
A search warrant was issued for his nearby apartment, where detectives found 20 smaller marijuana plants, four pounds of freshly harvested marijuana in a freezer and several 80-milligram Oxycontin pills. Detectives also seized $1,380 in cash.
Locascio and his wife, Christine Locascio, 50, were both charged with cultivation of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and sale of marijuana.
``If he didn't show up, there would have been no way to prove who grew the plants,'' Ramsay said. ``The detectives left the note as a last ditch effort, thinking he would never call. But sometimes people do stupid things.''
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