A couple has been arrested on opposite ends of the country after using U.S. Mail to run a marijuana business.
Suspicions were raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, where detectives had undertaken a two year investigation into Barry and Melissa Cope. According to Steve Brooks of the Lake County, California Sheriff’s Department, the Florida detectives had found that Melissa Cowart Pope had been shipping both processed marijuana and marijuana-laced food products to her husband at his St. Petersburg location. The detectives intercepted several packages sent via the U.S. Postal Service which contained the contraband, and arrested Barry Pope there.
Meanwhile, back in California, Lake County detectives were working on their end of the connection. They secured a search warrant for the Pope residence and vehicle on Wednesday December 11, but held off serving it until last Wednesday, the 18th. At 10:30 that morning, detectives contacted 58-year-old Melissa Pope at the location on Big Bear Road in Lower Lake.
They arrested Mrs. Pope without incident, though it was not without risk, as she had two loaded guns on the premises. The search yielded 230 pounds of processed and unprocessed marijuana in several large plastic storage containers, along with shipping containers and a digital scale. The evidence confirmed the investigation that Pope was actively trafficking marijuana out of state for profit. It is not clear at this time whether she or they also sold marijuana directly from the home as well.
Melissa Pope joined her husband, albeit 3000 miles away, in custody facing charges of possession of marijuana for sale, being in possession of a firearm while committing a felony, and will likely face federal charges of interstate drug trafficking. She was booked at the Lake County Hill Road Correctional Facility.