NEW BOSTON, Mich. (AP) -- Horticulture students at a suburban Detroit high school have new equipment, courtesy of police who seized it from a man growing marijuana in his apartment.
Students from across Wayne County learn the science of cultivating plants in Shirley Tautolo's class at Huron High School in New Boston. But she said tight budgets have made it hard to find the money to buy the latest equipment.
That changed earlier this month, when Tautolo received new pots and heat lamps courtesy of Trenton police.
Officers arrested a 44-year-old man on Nov. 7 after a neighbor smelled smoke in his apartment building. No one answered when a firefighter tried to contact the resident, and the firefighter walked into a smoke haze when he entered the apartment. He found several marijuana plants under heat lamps in a bedroom closet, according to a police report.
The resident was arrested when he returned to his apartment. He pleaded guilty to possessing marijuana and was sentenced to probation and a $500 fine.
Police seized a scale, two lamp bulbs, a high-intensity light, two fluorescent lamps, nine pots with marijuana plants and 23 empty pots. But they had no use for the equipment.
"It's a shame to throw this stuff away," Lt. Greg Plagens told the Detroit Free Press for a story published Tuesday. "You want to use it for something positive."
Police offered the pot-growing supplies to Trenton High School and were referred to Tautolo's horticulture program at Huron High, which draws students from throughout the area. The pots will be used to grow vegetables and herbs in the fall after a thorough cleaning, she said.
"Something that was used for bad will be used for good," said Tautolo, whose classes help prepare students for jobs in farming, landscaping and gardening, or for college study.
"It's better the pots are here than being used for drugs," said Jackie Bayne, a graduating senior.