Feds charge 13, including cops and a prosecutor, in alleged Maine cannabis conspiracy
FARMINGTON, Maine — More than a dozen people, including law enforcement officers and elected officials, are facing federal charges connected to an alleged Maine cannabis distribution and money laundering operation.
Among those charged is a Farmington man who allegedly led the operation. Several law enforcement officials, a former selectman from the town of Rangeley, and a Franklin County assistant district attorney are also implicated.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the alleged drug conspiracy brought in more than $13 million dollars over six years, using Maine’s medical marijuana program to grow and sell cannabis in the illicit market, sometimes out of state.
Randal Cousineau of Farmington pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiracy to distribute more than 2,200 pounds of cannabis flower and 1,000 cannabis plants. Prosecutors for the case called Cousineau the “primary financier” of an illegal cannabis cultivation facility in Farmington. He faces up to life in prison and a $10 million fine.
Lucas Sirois of Farmington is facing six charges, including conspiracy to distribute drugs, money laundering and bank fraud. According to investigators, Sirois was “the leader of the criminal organization,” and that he structured the operation to appear as if it was complying with the state’s medical cannabis laws, while allegedly selling large amounts of the drug on the illicit market.
A criminal complaint filed for Sirois stated that investigators learned about the operation after one of Sirois’ employees blew the whistle after Sirois fired him for saying that the pot operation was illegal.
A few other individuals have been charged in the case for their alleged participation in the illegal cultivation and distribution of cannabis.
Court documents and public statements say that the conspiracy was also aided by a range of local and law enforcement officials from Maine.
A former Rangeley selectman, David Burgess, allegedly accepted money in exchange for helping to advance a cannabis ordinance drafted by Sirois.
Federal prosecutors also accuse some law enforcement officials of aiding Sirois’ business or interfering with the investigation. They include several police officers, and Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Kayla Alves.
Alves has been charged with tampering with documents and tampering with proceedings.