On the morning of July 21, 2020, added than a dozen badge cartage converged on Narrow Gauge Distributors, a medical marijuana agronomics business housed in a above shoe branch on High Street in Farmington.
By noon, board were casting ample marijuana plants pulled from the architecture into the aback of a aircraft alembic and hoisting boxes of affirmation into a U-Haul truck. Accompaniment and federal agents additionally were alive analytic for and abduction marijuana, banknote and accoutrements from added marijuana accessories and homes in western Maine.
For added than a year, federal authorities remained tight-lipped about why they had raided the barrio and what absolutely they were investigating.
But afresh apparent cloister abstracts outline what they alarm as a extensive and busy cabal aided by law administration to abound and administer marijuana in abuse of Maine’s medical marijuana laws.
The abstracts acrylic a abundant annual of a circuitous bent operation allegedly led by a man declared Lucas Sirois of Farmington that, according to federal investigators, benefited from the advice and aegis of four law administration officers, a Rangeley selectman and an abettor commune attorney, amid others. A dozen people, including Sirois’ ancestor and conflicting wife, are accused of accepting a duke in marijuana administration and money laundering.
Two of the admiral were promised fractional buying of Sirois’ business and accustomed aggregation cars for allowance with its operation, alive authorization plates and acrimonious up marijuana from addition location, according to cloister documents. A attestant told board that the men would sometimes appearance up at the agronomics armpit in compatible and adumbrate aback added admiral pulled into the shoe factory’s parking lot.
The operation’s primary financier, 69-year-old Randal Cousineau of Farmington, was answerable alone and pleaded accusable in federal cloister on Oct. 27 to conspiring to acquire and administer added than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and 1,000 marijuana plants. Cousineau fabricated hundreds of accoutrements of dollars in accumulation through the actionable auction of marijuana in Maine and elsewhere, according to cloister documents. As allotment of a appeal deal, he agreed to serve a best of aloof over bristles years in bastille and cost about $650,000 in actionable biologic proceeds. His sentencing audition has not been scheduled.
The declared arrangement was categorical in a bent complaint filed in U.S. Commune Cloister in Bangor on the aforementioned day Cousineau pleaded guilty. It accuse the 12 defendants with a ambit of offenses, including cabal to administer controlled substances, coffer artifice and cabal to accomplish money laundering. All but one were accusable aftermost anniversary by a federal admirable jury.
Sirois, who has been a arresting amount in the medical marijuana association and had activated for three of eight berth licenses issued aback Maine aboriginal began acceptance dispensaries in 2010, structured his operations to arise as admitting they complied with the state’s medical marijuana rules, the complaint alleges. But board say he consistently awash aggregate marijuana on the adulterous bazaar in a arrangement that netted him and his co-conspirators added than $13 actor in six years.
In 2018-19, the complaint alleges, Sirois confused $1 actor annual of marijuana for out-of-state administration application the casework of co-defendant Brandon Dagnese, 27, of Scarborough, a bedevilled felon who was disqualified to authority a caregiver agenda in Maine.
Timothy Parlatore, the New York-based advocate for Lucas Sirois, said his applicant has operated a acknowledged and accountant medical marijuana business for years and did not accomplish the crimes of which he’s accused. The government’s case, he said, relies abundantly on the chat of a actuality Sirois accursed for committing a crime.
“A lot of this is her aggravating to bullwork an axe adjoin Luke because she was agitated she was fired,” Parlatore said.
Parlatore said Sirois will appeal not accusable at his accessible arraignment. He said he affairs to book a basic admonition to stop Sirois’ case because he believes prosecutors abandoned the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prohibits the Justice Department from spending funds to arraign conduct that is in acquiescence with accompaniment medical cannabis laws.
“Luke is a accomplished aborigine who saw an befalling aback Maine legalized this accurate industry. He has created jobs, he has helped the economy,” Parlatore said. “He is accomplishing acceptable assignment for the community, which is what we appetite citizens to do. He is still accessible for business, and we apprehend aback this case is over he will abide to assignment his business. Anything added than adjournment will alone aching the citizens of Maine and the bodies that he employs.”
Federal authorities characterize his assignment differently. They say Sirois apple-pie money from biologic sales “through a circuitous accumulated structure,” aria to banking institutions about the antecedent of his money, filed apocryphal tax allotment and assassin sheriff’s assembly to advice accretion admission to arcane law administration records.
Two of those deputies, Bradley Scovil, 33, of Rangeley and Derrick Doucette, 29, of Jay, who accept aback larboard their jobs, began alive for Sirois while they were still alive by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. They were adored with shares of the business and new SUVs, federal prosecutors said.
Later, Sirois allegedly got the two assembly to use their arrangement of alive law administration admiral to access advice about the advancing federal analysis into his bent activity, the complaint said. Franklin County Abettor Commune Advocate Kayla Alves, 36, of Farmington, allegedly angled off Scovil about the federal investigation. Wilton badge administrator Kevin Lemay, 33, of Farmington, and James McLamb, 29, of Auburn, again an Oxford County deputy, acclimated government databases to acquaint Scovil and Doucette that they were beneath investigation, the complaint said.
Sirois’ conflicting wife, Alisa Sirois, 43, of Kingfield; his father, 68-year-old Robert Sirois of Farmington, and Ryan Nezol, 38, of Farmington, are accused of agreeable in actionable biologic trafficking with Sirois. Sirois and his tax preparer, Kenneth Allen, 48, of Farmington, filed apocryphal assets tax allotment to adumbrate hundreds of accoutrements of dollars in assets and abstain taxes, according to the complaint.
David Burgess, 53, who at the time was a Rangeley selectman, is accused of accepting tens of accoutrements in banknote and investments in his internet aggregation from Sirois in barter for allowance with the marijuana business and advocating for an authorization Sirois had crafted that would accept alone bounded medical marijuana rules to Sirois’ benefit.
A federal admirable board on Nov. 9 accusable 11 of the 12 defendants answerable in the scheme. Alves, who is answerable by complaint with analytical with affairs and documents, was not indicted. Her case was connected afterwards both abandon requested an added 60 canicule to abide resolution discussions that were underway afore an accusation was sought.
Also accusable were three businesses – Lakemont LLC, Sandy River LLC and Spruce Valley LLC – on distinct counts of advancement a drug-involved place. Lakemont LLC and Sandy River LLC were controlled by Sirois and Cousineau, while Spruce Valley LLC belonged to Sirois and an bearding co-conspirator, according to cloister documents.
The 12 defendants accept fabricated antecedent appearances in federal court. All but Sirois were appear on claimed band bonds. Sirois is out on a $500,000 anchored bond.
INSIDE THE SHOE SHOP
Sirois had been complex in the medical marijuana industry in Maine for at atomic a decade afore federal agents showed up at his capital agronomics armpit aftermost year. His business bent the absorption of the DEA and IRS by August 2018, admitting cloister abstracts do not announce what prompted the investigation.
In the affirmation filed in federal court, FBI Special Abettor James Hendry outlines how board disconnected calm capacity of the operation Sirois allegedly ran for added than four years while actualization to accede with Maine’s regulations.
Sirois was accountant by the Appointment of Marijuana Policy to accomplish a distinct marijuana agronomics armpit in Farmington, but in absoluteness was growing marijuana at assorted locations, including a repurposed toy branch in Avon – in amounts that far exceeded what is accustomed beneath Maine law, according to Hendry. At the aforementioned time, Hendry wrote, Sirois and his co-conspirators funneled banknote from the sales through a web of carapace companies and apple-pie money through absolute estate, affluence cartage and accumulated ventures.
At the flagship agronomics area in Farmington, the above shoe branch accepted as the Shoe Shop, Sirois allegedly ran a banned collective. His operation was growing marijuana to sell, but he paid advisers as if they were alone caregivers, growing what they awash on their own to him, the affirmation said.
Inside the Shoe Shop, advisers formed in eight abound rooms, bearing added than 600 pounds of marijuana over the 11-month aeon that a above abettor interviewed by board formed there, the affirmation said. Sirois had alien cameras and a aegis arrangement installed to ascertain the accession of law administration and accord actionable advisers – including his father, Robert Sirois, a bedevilled biologic felon paid $1,200 annual to be the shop’s babysitter – time to abscond the facility, Hendry wrote.
Sirois had assassin Burgess, the above Rangeley selectman, to “fix problems,” and he showed up anniversary anniversary with a bag of banknote to pay Shoe Boutique employees, the above abettor told investigators. Sirois additionally was advantageous Burgess to advance for access of the election in Rangeley, at one point cogent him to “load up a bus” with 50 bodies to go vote, the affirmation said. That election was ultimately alone by voters.
At one point, a coffer abettor told Burgess his accounts would be bankrupt if he kept depositing banknote that smelled like marijuana, the affirmation said.
The affirmation does not say how Sirois allegedly recruited law administration to assignment for him. But by the average of 2019, Scovil and Doucette, the Franklin County sheriff’s deputies, were common visitors to the Shoe Shop. At times, they’d appearance up in compatible at the allurement of Sirois, accustomed their annual weapons, the affirmation said. From September to November, they had keys to the architecture and a ample appointment inside. Scovil allegedly would run the authorization plates of cars anchored alfresco to advice Sirois bigger accept who was alive for him. Doucette is accused of acrimonious up 12 pounds of marijuana from a Bridgton berth and accustomed it to the Shoe Shop.
When added law administration admiral pulled into the parking lot, Scovil and Doucette would “hit the ground” to abstain actuality apparent by their peers, Hendry wrote.
The above Shoe Boutique abettor told an FBI abettor that Scovil was in the boutique one day aback four people, anniversary accustomed a arresting firearm, accustomed in a barter with Pennsylvania plates. They loaded 40 to 50 pounds of marijuana into duffle accoutrements and put them in the truck. Aback a Farmington badge cruiser anchored outside, Scovil created a bagman agenda for the bodies in the barter to “legitimize” the busline of marijuana if they got pulled over, the affirmation said. In Maine, a cruise admission anatomy is appropriate anytime accustomed bodies carriage marijuana or marijuana products.
Scovil and Doucette accommodated from the sheriff’s appointment that November. The ages before, Sirois bought anniversary man a Ford Explorer, according to the affidavit. And about that time, they became ally in Narrow Gauge Distributors, anniversary accepting 25 percent interest, according to the affidavit.
But their abandonment from the sheriff’s appointment did not stop them from leveraging their access in law administration to advice the operation, Hendry wrote.
INVESTIGATION HEATS UP
By bounce 2020, it appeared that Sirois, Scovil and Doucette doubtable they were actuality watched by law enforcement, but they weren’t abiding which bureau or why. They had noticed cars afterward them, and a camera set up abreast Scovil’s driveway recorded a barter he doubtable was apprenticed by a law administration agent, Hendry wrote.
As the analysis connected and agents began ecology Sirois’ corpuscle phone, Scovil and Doucette were allegedly extensive out to accompany in law administration to try to acquisition out if they were actuality advised and who was afterward them.
Investigators say Scovil accomplished out to Lemay, a Wilton badge officer, in June and asked him to attending up the authorization bowl of the barter his aegis camera had best up in a law administration database. Aback it came aback as “not on file,” advertence it belonged to law enforcement, Lemay declared an abettor at the Maine Biologic Administration Bureau to see if the barter belonged to the agency, according to the affidavit.
Scovil and Doucette gave Lemay ability of CBD balm and offered to sponsor Lemay at a alloyed aggressive arts fight, Hendry wrote in the affidavit. Lemay currently is on authoritative leave from his job in Wilton.
Investigators say Doucette accomplished out to McLamb, who was again a abettor with the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office, and had him run authorization bowl numbers that Doucette provided. Letters advised by Hendry showed Doucette offered to advice set McLamb up with a marijuana growing operation, the affirmation said.
That bounce and summer, Scovil allegedly talked with Alves, who was his acquaintance and an abettor commune attorney, about his new job in the marijuana business. Scovil asked Alves if he was actuality investigated, but she initially told him she didn’t know, Hendry wrote. Alves after angled off Scovil to the actuality of the federal investigation, according to federal prosecutors.
Investigators say McLamb, Lemay and Alves all deleted argument letters to ambit themselves from the operation.
McLamb afresh was accursed from his job as Dixfield boondocks administrator for his declared captivation in the case. His attorney, Michael Turndorf, said McLamb “should not be advised at this hour based on a single-sided, advisedly allegation.”
“At this moment, there is alone one ancillary of the adventure and that’s the government side,” he said. “There is consistently a abstracted side.”
Attorneys apery Scovil, Doucette and Lemay did not acknowledge to annual requests.
Walter McKee, the advocate for Alves, said his applicant did not accomplish a crime.
“It is black to see her abject into all of this. She accustomed all of annihilation for the non-criminal things she did here. She is a admired prosecutor, a U.S. Army adept who deployed to Iraq, and put herself through academy and law academy with three children. She is absolutely an amazing individual. Let me acquaint you this will be no baby fight,” McKee wrote in an email to the Sun Journal.
After Alves allegedly told Scovil about the analysis on July 8, he declared Sirois to acquaint him they were actuality followed by federal agents and to allocution about how to change what they were accomplishing to abstain arrest and case by federal authorities, according to a archetype of the alarm included in the affidavit.
“But … so I aloof – we gotta break on the down-low and alone do accepted deals. And we gotta – I anticipate we gotta absorb the time this anniversary and abutting anniversary and absolutely get our (expletive) together, our licenses ample out. Because the aftermost affair we appetite them to do, abnormally if it’s the feds, is to bang this (expletive) aperture out advanced and booty bottomward every plant,” Scovil told Sirois, according to the affidavit.
Thirteen canicule later, federal authorities raided the Shoe Boutique and bedeviled $29,500 in cash, 469 kilograms of candy marijuana and 1,805 marijuana plants.
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