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Published: Wednesday, 4/27/2011

4 plead, 1 files motion in plot to smuggle drugs into area prison


BOWLING GREEN — While four people charged in a plot to smuggle marijuana into Toledo Correctional Institution have pleaded guilty to their roles, a fifth defendant has filed a motion in Wood County Common Pleas Court for intervention in lieu of conviction.

Brooke Thomas, 21, of Toledo asked the court this week for what would amount to substance abuse treatment and other court-ordered requirements rather than a criminal conviction. If Ms. Thomas qualifies for intervention, prosecutors said they would amend the charge against her — complicity to trafficking in marijuana — to a lesser charge of possession of marijuana.

Judge Alan Mayberry scheduled a hearing on the matter for 8:30 a.m. June 10.

On Friday, Ms. Thomas’s boyfriend, Cory Mendoza, 22, pleaded guilty to complicity to trafficking in marijuana and was immediately sentenced by Judge Mayberry to nine months in prison. That sentence is to be served consecutively with the 39 years he currently is serving in Toledo Correctional Institution for charges stemming from a 2008 drunken driving crash in which a Weston, Ohio, couple was killed.

Mendoza’s mother, Mary Jo Waltz, 42, of Hamler and co-defendant, Wendell Ford, 52, of Toledo both pleaded guilty to the same complicity charge and are to be sentenced June 10. Another co-defendant, Earl Moore, 53, of Toledo pleaded guilty to an amended charge of permitting drug abuse, a first-degree misdemeanor. He is to be sentenced May 27.

Two others were charged in the marijuana scheme. Brandon Mendoza, 19, of Hamler — a cousin of Cory Mendoza — has a pre-trial hearing Friday, and Juan A. Mendoza — an uncle of Cory Mendoza — is scheduled to go to trial May 9.

Also on Friday, the Sixth District Court of Appeals upheld Cory Mendoza’s conviction and sentence in the aggravated vehicular homicide case with one exception. The appeals judges said Judge Mayberry could not require Mendoza to spend Oct. 5 — the anniversary of the deadly crash — in solitary confinement because there “is no statutory provision for this type of punishment and it is contrary to law.”

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