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Cops, prosecutor and selectman among 13 charged in massive Maine pot operation

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Thirteen people, including four former law enforcement officers, a prosecutor and a former selectman, have been charged in a conspiracy to use medical marijuana grow houses in western Maine to illegally sell $13 million of the drug in and out of Maine.

Court documents in the case were made public Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Bangor after one of the defendants pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess and distribute more than a ton of marijuana and 1,000 marijuana plants.

The documents detail a far-reaching scheme in which the head of the conspiracy, 41-year-old Lucas Sirois of Farmington, allegedly gave cops ownership interests in his company and brand new “company” cars in exchange for confidential information that he used to benefit his business. He also learned about the federal investigation into his illegal business dealings through the officers’ networks, according to the documents.

A former Rangeley selectman is also implicated, accused of accepting cash payments from Sirois in exchange for advocating for his agenda, including a vote to advance a marijuana ordinance Sirois had drafted to a town referendum.

The defendant who pleaded guilty is Randal Cousineau, 69, of Farmington, who admitted that he participated in a conspiracy to illegally cultivate and sell marijuana from 2016 to July 2020. Cousineau was the primary financier and 50 percent partner in an illegal marijuana cultivation facility in Farmington, according to court documents. He also held an interest in an illegal marijuana distribution company.

Members of the conspiracy cultivated and sold marijuana in violation of Maine’s medical marijuana laws, selling bulk marijuana to people who were not registered as caregivers, and for distribution outside of Maine. Cousineau realized hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit from these illegal sales, according to court documents.

A sentencing date has not been set. His plea agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office calls for him to forfeit real estate and more than $500,000 in illegal profits.

He faces up to life in prison but he waived his right to appeal to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals if his sentence is less than five years and three months.

Sirois is accused of heading up the conspiracy. He allegedly structured his operations so that it looked like he complied with Maine’s medical marijuana rules while he regularly sold bulk marijuana on the illicit market, including more than $1 million worth of marijuana for out-of-state distribution between 2018 and 2019 through codefendant Brandon Dagnese, 27, of Scarborough. A convicted felon, Dagnese was ineligible to hold a caregiver card in Maine, according to the complaint.

Sirois also is accused of using family and friends to conceal his illegal activities and maximize his profits. His estranged wife, Alisa Sirois, 43, of Kingfield; his father Robert Sirois, 68, of Farmington; Ryan Nezol, 38, of Farmington, and others allegedly laundered drug proceeds through a complex corporate structure. Kenneth Allen, 48, of Farmington, a tax preparer, is charged with filing false income tax returns to hide hundreds of thousands of dollars in income, resulting in tax loss of more than $400,000.

Sirois defrauded Maine taxpayers by using his drug money to corrupt members of local law enforcement and town government, according to the complaint.

Bradley Scovil, 33, of Rangeley, and Derrick Doucette, 29, of Jay, both former deputies with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, allegedly obtained confidential law enforcement information for Lucas Sirois that he used to benefit his illegal business. In exchange, they were given ownership interests in the business and brand new “company” cars, according to the complaint. Later, Lucas Sirois used Scovil and Doucette’s network of active law enforcement officials to obtain information about the ongoing federal investigation into his criminal activity.

Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Kayla Alves, 36, of Farmington, who is on administrative leave, allegedly tipped off Scovil to the existence of the Sirois probe, after Wilton police Officer Kevin Lemay, 33, of Farmington, and then-Oxford County deputy Sheriff James McLamb, 29, of Auburn, used government databases to confirm for Scovil and Doucette that they were being surveilled by law enforcement.

All three officials later destroyed electronic evidence of their wrongdoing with Scovil and Doucette in order to conceal it from investigators, the complaint said.

David Burgess, 53, a former selectman in Rangeley, allegedly accepted tens of thousands of dollars in cash payments from Lucas Sirois, including investment in his internet start-up company, in exchange for advocating for Lucas Sirois’ agenda. That included voting to advance a marijuana ordinance that Lucas Sirois drafted for a town referendum. Lucas Sirois paid Burgess thousands of dollars a week to manage his marijuana businesses, a conflict Burgess never publicly disclosed, the complaint said.

The charges filed in the case range include conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, bank fraud, tampering with proceedings, tampering with documents, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and to impede and impair the IRS, tax evasion, and tax fraud.

In addition to the criminal complaint, a civil complaint was made public Wednesday seeking the forfeiture of 12 properties that were allegedly used to facilitate illegal marijuana trafficking and/or were purchased with illegal drug proceeds.

They are the first criminal charges to come after Sirois had several properties across Franklin County raided by the FBI and other agencies in July 2020. Law enforcement linked a dozen properties to drug trafficking shortly after that in notices saying it intended to seize them. They were in Farmington, Rangeley Industry, Avon and Carrabassett Valley.

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