Police raid illegal marijuana grows in Sangerville and Guilford

By Ethan Andrews, Bangor Daily News Staff

Police confiscated roughly 2,000 marijuana plants Friday, Feb. 9 during four raids in Sangerville and Guilford, the latest in a succession of raids on illegal growing operations this year.

In Sangerville, the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at a property on North Dexter Road and two warrants at a property on Manhanock Pond Road, the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post.

A fourth warrant was served on a residence on Water Street in Guilford.

Police arrested a male suspect but have not identified him. He is being held at Piscataquis County Jail.

The searches and arrest come on the heels of a raid on Feb. 8 in Norridgewock that netted more than 2,000 marijuana plants and 10 pounds of harvested marijuana.

They received greater scrutiny after the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office found an illegal marijuana operation in Carmel, where police seized 3,400 plants and 111 pounds of processed marijuana in late June. Since then, other large illegal marijuana operations have been found in Dexter, Wilton, Machias, Orland and other communities.

Even more illegal marijuana operations have been uncovered in the past few weeks.

Police have raided seven properties in Chelsea, Jefferson and Whitefield since Jan. 10, resulting in six arrests and the seizure of more than 6,066 marijuana plants.

On Jan. 31, Androscoggin County sheriff’s deputies seized about 2,500 marijuana plants from an operation in Turner after a bystander reported seeing smoke coming from a garage.

In Cornville, sheriff’s deputies seized 750 marijuana plants and 90 pounds of processed marijuana, all worth an estimated $200,000. Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster described the operation as “very-well organized” during a county commissioners meeting on Jan. 17.

In Belgrade, police arrested two people and seized 2,300 marijuana plants on Jan. 2, while in the town of China, three people were arrested and police seized 970 plants and many more seedlings on Dec. 30.

A leaked federal government memo, first obtained by the conservative Daily Caller and published in August, estimates Maine has 270 large-scale illegal marijuana grows connected to organized crime groups in China. The memo’s authors note that the money may be used to further crime in the U.S. or be sent back to China. These operations generate an estimated $4.37 billion in revenue.

The Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 9 referred to the operations in Sangerville and Guilford as “illegal Asian marijuana grows” but did not provide any further details.

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