Maine police bust 8 different marijuana grow operations in less than a week

By Marie Weidmayer, Bangor Daily News Staff

More than 9,800 marijuana plants were seized by police across Maine in less than a week.

Police served search warrants at seven marijuana grow operations in Penobscot, Somerset and Piscataquis counties on Feb. 8 and Feb. 9. The homes had been transformed into grow operations, leaving some with inhumane living conditions.

The multiple busts in a few days were a coincidence and not coordinated between agencies, Penobscot County Sheriff Chief Deputy John Knappe said. The sheriff’s office found out shortly before their raid that others were being conducted.

Then on Feb. 14 Somerset County sheriff’s deputies raided an illegal marijuana growing operation at Norridgewock home, seizing 1,310 plants and several pounds of harvested marijuana, among other drug material.

More than 2,000 marijuana plants, 10 pounds of harvested marijuana and other materials were seized from a home on Riverside Drive in Norridgewock on Feb. 8.

Six different warrants were served on Feb. 9, including one in Corinna where police seized 3,770 marijuana plants and found exposed high voltage wires throughout the home. Neighbors saw out of state vehicles at all hours, smelled burning chemicals and saw things being buried, the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office said.

In Mercer, the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office seized 553 plants, several pounds of harvested marijuana and a chemical banned in Maine.

The warrants for four locations in Sangerville and Guilford were connected to an Asian country, the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office said. Around 2,000 plants were seized and a male suspect was arrested.

A leaked memo from the federal government in August said there were 270 marijuana growing sites in Maine linked to China. Those could produce more than $4 billion in revenue.

Numerous properties across the state were raided in January as well. In Turner, 3,500 plants were seized after a bystander saw smoke coming from a garage. Six people were arrested earlier in the month after seven warrants were served in Chelsea, Jefferson, and Whitefield.

Scrutiny of marijuana grow operations increased in late June after the Penobscot sheriff’s office seized 3,400 plants and 111 pounds of processed marijuana. In the months after, more large illegal marijuana operations have been found in Dexter, Wilton, Machias, Orland, and other communities.

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