Federal officials say pot conspiracy involved police, prosecutor and town official

Federal officials say pot conspiracy involved police, prosecutor and town official

A Farmington man pleaded responsible in federal court docket Wednesday to felonies that authorities stated ended up section of a extensive-ranging conspiracy involving unlawful cannabis expansion and product sales that resulted in a linked 14-depend criminal grievance in opposition to a dozen other persons, such as a county prosecutor, three previous sheriff’s deputies, a law enforcement officer and an elected town formal in Rangeley.

Randal Cousineau, 69, pleaded responsible to conspiring to have and distribute much more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and 1,000 cannabis plants. He faces a sentence of up to lifestyle in jail and a $10 million high-quality, in accordance to the U.S. Attorney’s Office environment. His sentence will be decided by a federal choose at a later on date.

Federal authorities stated Cousineau was the principal financier of an operation that grew and sold cannabis in violation of Maine’s marijuana legislation, mostly by offering it in bulk to folks who weren’t cannabis caregivers and distributing it out of point out. From 2016 to July 2020, when federal brokers raided the marijuana growing operation in Farmington, Slim Gauge Botanicals LLC, Cousineau built “hundreds of countless numbers of bucks,” according to federal prosecutors.

Prosecutors filed a 14-rely prison complaint Wednesday in federal court that prices 12 individuals with a range of criminal perform, which includes conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute managed substances, conspiracy to commit dollars laundering, conspiracy to commit straightforward services fraud, lender fraud, tampering with proceedings, tampering with files, conspiracy to defraud the United States and to impede and impair the IRS, tax evasion and tax fraud, according to a statement issued Wednesday by U.S. Lawyer Darcie N. McElwee.

In that grievance, Lucas Sirois, 41, of Farmington is named as the chief of the criminal corporation. He and his co-conspirators understood in excessive of $13 million more than six years by means of the illicit sale of cannabis, the grievance alleges.

Sirois structured his functions to surface as though they complied with Maine’s clinical marijuana regime though he consistently bought bulk marijuana on the illicit market, together with extra than $1 million value of cannabis for out-of-state distribution in 2018 and 2019 by means of co-defendant Brandon Dagnese, 27, of Scarborough, a convicted felon who was ineligible to maintain a caregiver card in Maine, the criticism stated.

Federal authorities stated Sirois and others laundered revenue from the drug profits “through a intricate corporate structure” and also lied to monetary institutions about the resource of his money, filed bogus tax returns and hired sheriff’s deputies to support obtain access to confidential legislation enforcement information. Two of the then-deputies, Bradley Scovil, 33, of Rangeley and Derrick Doucette, 29, of Jay, ended up rewarded with shares of Sirois’ enterprise and new “company automobiles,” federal prosecutors claimed.

Later, Sirois made use of Scovil and Doucette’s community of active regulation enforcement officials to receive information and facts about the ongoing federal investigation into his felony exercise, the grievance claimed.

The indictment claimed Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Kayle Alves, 36, of Farmington tipped off Scovil about the federal investigation into Sirois, and Wilton police officer Kevin Lemay, 33, of Farmington and then-Oxford County Deputy James McLamb, 29, of Auburn applied federal government databases to warn Scovil and Doucette that they were underneath investigation.

Scovil and Doucette the two still left the sheriff’s section in November 2019 soon after about 4 many years of provider, in accordance to company information.

Federal authorities also demand that Rangeley Selectman David Burgess, 53, took “tens of countless numbers of dollars” from Sirois to advance Sirois’ agenda, which includes a marijuana ordinance that Sirois experienced drafted for a city referendum. Sirois also paid Burgess hundreds of pounds weekly to deal with his marijuana procedure, the U.S. Attorney’s Office environment explained.

Messages still left trying to get comment from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Business and the Franklin County District Legal professional were being not returned Wednesday evening.

Prospective sentences for the expenses submitted from the dozen billed Wednesday selection from three to 30 years in jail and fines.

At least 9 of the defendants are scheduled to appear in federal courtroom in Bangor on Thursday or Friday.

A civil grievance also was unsealed Wednesday in federal courtroom that seeks the forfeiture of 12 attributes included in the facilitation of unlawful cannabis trafficking and/or ordered with illegal drug proceeds, McElwee explained.

Sunshine Journal Team Writer Christopher Williams contributed to this report.

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