Woman receives letter on drug making from inmate

Directions mistakenly mixed in with her mail

WARREN — A Trumbull County woman had to think, “Boy, you have sent this to the wrong person,” when she read a letter from an inmate at the Mansfield Correctional Institution.

Trumbull County sheriff deputies answered a call last week about a woman who opened by accident a letter addressed to another woman. The woman told deputies the letter was mixed in with her mail, and she didn’t realize what it was or who it was from.

The sheriff’s report states the author of the letter was Martin Higinbotham, who was sentenced in March to 16 months in prison on a conviction of theft, assault, tampering with evidence and possession of drug charges.

Higinbotham, 48, was accused of flipping over a table after being revived with Narcan at his home in a Newton Township trailer park. Deputies were called to the Blue Water Manor park in January 2018 to respond to a medical issue. They found Higinbotham unresponsive, and deputies administered the drug that reverses opiate overdoses. When revived, reports state the man became combative, flipping over a table that contained a powdery substance that flew into the air.

Three sheriff deputies were feared to have been exposed to fentanyl, which is 50 times more powerful than heroin. They were taken to St. Joseph Warren Hospital — along with Higinbotham — to be checked out. The three deputies reported to feel “funny” after the incident, but they did not have any after-effects from exposure to the suspected drug.

In the letter opened by the woman, she told deputies she realized “something was off about it” after she started reading. The contents of the letter, the woman told deputies, included directions on how to make a “drug of some sort and smuggle it into prison.”

The report states Higinbotham doesn’t sign his name anywhere on the letter, but leaves instructions for the homemade drug to be sent to his bunk mate.

The letter states the inmate says he can make up to $2,500 off the drugs, and the letter gives further directions on how to disguise the drugs in the mail.

Deputies returned the letter to the Newton Township woman it originally was intended for, the report states, and authorities also contacted an Ohio State Highway Patrol investigator who was to alert the Mansfield prison Tuesday about the incident.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)