Feds charge former deputies, a cop, prosecutor and town official in Farmington pot conspiracy

BANGOR — A Farmington man pleaded responsible Wednesday in federal court docket to felonies in

BANGOR — A Farmington man pleaded responsible Wednesday in federal court docket to felonies in a vast-ranging conspiracy involving unlawful cannabis progress and profits that also implicates a dozen individuals, like a county prosecutor, 3 previous sheriff’s deputies, a police officer and an elected town official.

Randal Cousineau, 69, admitted in U.S. District Court to conspiring to possess and distribute a lot more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and 1,000 cannabis vegetation.

He faces from 10 yrs to lifetime in jail and up to a $10 million great, in accordance to court docket data.

Prosecutors stated that from about 2016 by way of July 2020, Cousineau participated in a conspiracy to illegally cultivate and promote marijuana. He was the main financier and fifty percent-fascination lover with a co-conspirator in an illegal marijuana cultivation facility in Farmington, Narrow Gauge Botanicals LLC, in accordance to court data.

He also held an desire in an unlawful cannabis distribution company. Users of the conspiracy cultivated and bought marijuana in violation of Maine’s medical marijuana legal guidelines, offering bulk cannabis illicitly to men and women who were being not registered as caregivers, and for distribution outside of the state, according to courtroom records.

Cousineau realized hundreds of 1000’s of bucks in gain from these illegal revenue, in accordance to court data.

Prosecutors filed a 14-count felony criticism Wednesday in federal courtroom that expenses 12 men and women with a range of felony carry out, like conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to dedicate cash laundering, conspiracy to dedicate honest products and services fraud, financial institution fraud, tampering with proceedings, tampering with documents, 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. Attorney Darcie N. McElwee.

In that criticism, Lucas Sirois, 41, of Farmington, is named as leader of the felony group. He and his co-conspirators recognized in surplus of $13 million over 6 yrs via the illicit sale of cannabis, the complaint alleges.

Sirois structured his operations to surface as however they complied with Maine’s clinical cannabis regime though he often offered bulk marijuana on the illicit current market, including additional than $1 million worth of cannabis for out-of-condition distribution among 2018 and 2019 via co-defendant Brandon Dagnese, 27, of Scarborough, a convicted felon who was ineligible to maintain a caregiver card in Maine, according to the complaint.

McElwee mentioned the grievance names other alleged conspirators.

In an exertion to conceal his functions and improve his revenue from illegal drug trafficking, in which he engaged with Alisa Sirois, 43, of Kingfield, Robert Sirois, 68, of Farmington, and Ryan Nezol, 38, of Farmington, amongst some others, Sirois laundered drug proceeds through a complex company structure, the complaint alleges.

Lucas Sirois lied to his fiscal establishment about the nature of his business and the source of cash that flowed as a result of his accounts. He and his tax preparer, Kenneth Allen, 48, of Farmington, filed phony profits tax returns to hide hundreds of 1000’s of bucks in earnings, ensuing in tax decline to the United States in excess of $400,000.

The complaint alleges Sirois defrauded the taxpayers of the state of Maine by working with his drug revenue to corrupt members of local legislation enforcement and town authorities, McElwee stated.

Then-Franklin County Deputy Sheriffs Bradley Scovil, 33, of Rangeley, and Derrick Doucette, 29, of Jay, acquired confidential law enforcement information and facts for Sirois that he utilized to profit his unlawful enterprise. In trade, Sirois rewarded Scovil and Doucette with ownership pursuits in his business enterprise and model new so-called “company” cars and trucks, the complaint states.

Later on, Sirois employed Scovil and Doucette’s network of active regulation enforcement officers to get details about the ongoing federal investigation into his legal activity, according to the criticism.

Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Kayla Alves, 36, of Farmington, tipped off Scovil to the existence of the Sirois probe, soon after Wilton police officer Kevin Lemay, 33, of Farmington, and then-Oxford County deputy sheriff James McLamb, 29, of Auburn, applied governing administration databases to affirm for Scovil and Doucette that they ended up under surveillance by legislation enforcement. All 3 officers later on wrecked digital proof of their wrongdoing with Scovil and Doucette in purchase to conceal it from investigators, McElwee stated the unsealed complaint alleges.

Scovil and Doucette both equally left the sheriff’s division in November 2019 immediately after about 4 years of services, according to company documents.

Rangeley Selectman David Burgess, 53, recognized tens of thousands of bucks in funds payments from Sirois, together with investment in his internet startup company, in exchange for advocating for Sirois’ chosen agenda in town government, together with voting to advance a cannabis ordinance that Sirois himself had drafted to a city referendum, in accordance to McElwee.

In the course of that time, Sirois paid Burgess thousands of pounds a 7 days to handle his cannabis firms, a conflict Burgess under no circumstances created public, in accordance to the criticism.

A civil criticism also was unsealed Wednesday in federal court that seeks the forfeiture of 12 qualities involved in the facilitation of unlawful cannabis trafficking and/or bought with unlawful drug proceeds, McElwee said.

• Lucas, Alisa and Robert Sirois, Burgess, Scovil, Doucette, Dagnese and Nezol are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, which is punishable dependent on the quantity of marijuana included for just about every of the defendants.

• Lucas and Alisa Sirois and Burgess are billed with conspiracy to commit cash laundering, which punishable by up to 20 several years in jail.

• Lucas Sirois and Burgess are charged with conspiracy to commit straightforward services fraud, punishable by up to 20 years in jail.

• Lucas Sirois, Scovil, Doucette and McLamb are billed on a separate depend of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute managed substances, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

• Lucas and Alisa Sirois are billed with bank fraud, punishable by up to 30 several years in jail.

• Burgess also was charged with lender fraud, and faces up to 30 several years in prison.

• Alves was charged with tampering with proceedings and tampering with documents, each and every demand punishable by up to 20 many years in jail. She has been on administrative go away with pay out because August, District Attorney Andrew Robinson said Wednesday evening.

• Lemay and McLamb are every charged with tampering with documents for which each individual faces up to 20 years in jail.

• Lucas Sirois, Burgess and Allen are charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and impede and impair, for which just about every faces up to 5 a long time in prison.

• Sirois faces up to five a long time in jail on a charge of tax evasion.

• Allen faces up to a few several years in jail on a demand of tax fraud.

At minimum nine of the defendants are scheduled to show up in federal court docket in Bangor on Thursday or Friday.

McElwee praised the outstanding investigative operate of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Division, Portland Resident Office the FBI’s Boston Division and the Boston Field Workplace of IRS Prison Investigation. She thanked regional and condition Maine regulation enforcement companions for their participation in and support of the investigation.

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