Police & Fire

Man arrested during raid of illegal marijuana operation in Harmony

By Elizabeth Walztoni, Bangor Daily News Staff

HARMONY — One man was arrested and thousands of unlicensed marijuana plants seized April 16 at a residence in Harmony.

Dozens of illegal growing operations with ties to China have been busted in rural Maine in the past year as part of a continued investigation involving federal and state authorities. 

At the house on Cooley Road, the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office found about 3,400 plants growing in a detached garage, along with fertilizer, light and heat systems and other equipment, the Waterville Morning Sentinel reported

Dongming Liao, 41, of California was charged with illegal cultivation of marijuana. It was unclear to Somerset County law enforcement whether Liao was a legal citizen, the newspaper said.

Large grow operations have been busted over the past year in Androscoggin, Kennebec, Lincoln, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, and Washington counties.

A leaked federal government memo, first published by the conservative Daily Caller last August, estimated the state has 270 large illegal marijuana grows connected to organized crime in China. The grows bring in more than $4 billion in revenue that may go to crime in the U.S. or in China, the memo’s authors said.

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