Guilty plea for LSD, pot dealing

A Marietta woman who was dealing drugs out of her father’s apartment pleaded guilty Friday to drug charges and agreed to give up thousands of dollars seized from the home.

Dakota Morningstar, 21, admitted to selling nearly a pound of marijuana and took responsibility for some of the LSD found at 1205 County House Lane Apt. A when it was searched after a controlled drug buy Sept. 11.

She pleaded guilty to a bill of information charging a fourth-degree felony count of drug trafficking and a fifth-degree felony count of drug possession.

“The Major Crimes Task Force had arrested an individual with a large amount of marijuana, and that individual named as his supplier the defendant,” said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Jim Schneider.

The man acted as a confidential informant, setting up a large drug transaction through Morningstar where he would purchase nearly a pound of marijuana for $4,100.

“Before it was completed, the informant learned through the defendant that she also had LSD for sale,” said Schneider.

When the informant showed up at Morningstar’s residence with $5,100, two other men were there.

Vincent M. Christopher, 24, of 3101 Gale Road, Willoughby, was the suspected supplier of the marijuana, said Schneider. He reportedly took most of the money from the marijuana transaction, giving Morningstar $100, he said.

Michael S. Cope II, 30, of 2006 Huntington St., Middletown, reportedly conducted the LSD transaction, taking $1,000 from the informant. Cope reportedly sold some LSD to Christopher as well.

Christopher was indicted on a fourth-degree felony drug trafficking count for marijuana and a third-degree felony drug possession charge for LSD. Cope was indicted on two third-degree felony drug trafficking charges for the LSD sales. Both men are awaiting trial, said Schneider.

As part of her plea, Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane ordered Morningstar to have no contact with the men. But Morningstar bemoaned that they were contacting her.

“I’ve actually been threatened by Michael Cope, and Vincent Christopher has attempted to contact me recently,” she told Lane.

Lane simply reiterated his order for her not to respond.

In addition to pleading guilty, Morningstar agreed to give up $5,995 found in her home when officers executed a search warrant.

Some of this was marked money from the transaction that had just taken place, but Morningstar also agreed to forfeit additional money found in the home and believed to be the profits of drug sales, said Schneider.

In exchange for her guilty plea, the prosecution agreed to not charge Morningstar for any other drug charges for events happening on or before Sept. 11. That includes charges for previous marijuana sales the confidential informant alleged, said Schneider.

Part of the plea agreement also included a promise not to bring any charges against Morningstar’s father, though the prosecution had never intended to do so in the first place, said Schneider.

Morningstar’s sentencing was scheduled for April 18 at 8:15 a.m. The maximum penalty is two and a half years in prison and a $7,500 fine.

Dennis Sipe, Morningstar’s attorney, said he did not believe she has any prior felonies. Therefore, she will not likely be eligible for a prison sentence.