The owner of Mel’s Diner in Montville was arrested on marijuana charges after police say they found a large amount of the drug in the attic of the building.
Police said they discovered the marijuana on March 30, when they responded to the diner, located at 262 Route 163, because a neighbor reported an open and unattended door. Police arrived and swept the building for intruders, which is when they found what they described as a “large amount” of marijuana in that attic.
Police requested a search warrant and upon a thorough search of the building they found more marijuana in the restaurant near where food is made. Police seized 25 trays filled with weed from the attic. In the kitchen of the restaurant, officers seized a few mason jars and another tray of pot, along with drug paraphernalia, according to the arrest affidavit.
All together, police found approximately 11 pounds of marijuana, according to the arrest affidavit.
According to the arrest warrant, diner owner Melanie Lamperelli, 39, told police in a statement that the marijuana was hers and she had been saving it for baking.
“I know you’re not going to believed (sic) it but, I found all that (marijuana that) was upstairs, I laid it out so I could make oil, butter and food so it keeps,” according to court paperwork.
Lamperelli said she did not grow it, but claimed she found it in a tote. She said she laid it out in the attic to dry it out because it was moldy.
She said she was in the process of getting a medical marijuana card and that she kept the marijuana for personal use. While she did smoke with other people, she said she was not selling it.
“I’m really sorry this went this way I should have just thrown this away, I’m really stupid, I should have just left it,” Lamperelli is quoted in the affidavit.
On April 28, Lamperelli was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of marijuana within 1500 feet of a school/daycare, possession of more than 4 ounces of marijuana, possession of more than 4 ounces of marijuana within 1500 feet of a school/daycare, possession of drug paraphernalia, and second-degree reckless endangerment.
Her bond was set at $75,000 but she was released on a promise to appear in court on Monday. She is next scheduled in court on June 6.
The Uncas Health Department was notified and conducted their own investigation.
Heather Burian contributed to this report.