2,200 marijuana plants seized from illegal operation in Sangerville

By Christopher Burns, Bangor Daily News Staff

SANGERVILLE — Another illegal marijuana operation has been uncovered in Sangerville.

During a Feb. 29 raid, deputies seized 2,200 plants and approximately 100 pounds of processed marijuana from the North Dexter Road residence, according to the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office.

No arrests have yet been made in the bust, the sheriff’s office said.

It’s just the latest large-scale illegal marijuana operation uncovered in Maine in recent months.

Since the beginning of the new year, police have been active in busting these large operations, which have been found all over rural Maine, from Guilford and Sangerville in Piscataquis County, to Corinna and Passadumkeag in Penobscot County, to Turner in Androscoggin County, to Cornville, Madison, Mercer and Norridgewock in Somerset County, to Belgrade, China and Chelsea in Kennebec County, to Jefferson and Whitefield in Lincoln County.

These operations received greater scrutiny after the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office found an illegal marijuana grow house in Carmel, where police seized 3,400 plants and 111 pounds of processed marijuana in late June. As 2023 dragged on, police uncovered other large illegal marijuana operations in Dexter, Wilton, Machias and other communities.

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.

Similar operations have been found in California, Oklahoma and Oregon.

Maine’s congressional delegation has twice pressed the U.S. Justice Department to crack down on these illegal marijuana operations, most recently on Jan. 25, 2024.

“We applaud Maine law enforcement for their continued efforts to investigate and shutdown these illegal operations, and we encourage the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other federal partners to provide additional support for these efforts. These illegal growing operations are detrimental to Maine businesses that comply with State laws, and we urge the DOJ to shut them down,” U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden said in their January letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland.

It’s not yet clear whether the Sangerville operation is connected to others uncovered across Maine or to the crime network described in the federal memo.

No additional information was immediately available.

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