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May 10—FARMINGTON — A federal judge has denied a Rangeley man’s request to use medical marijuana for health reasons while on bail in an alleged illicit marijuana growing operation and money laundering scheme.
Magistrate Judge John Nivison heard Lucas Sirois’ motion April 13 at U.S. District Court in Bangor, which was held via video hearing. It was denied Friday.
A 2021 federal complaint alleges the former Farmington resident was the leader of the operation in the Franklin County area. He and co-conspirators took in more than $13 million over six years through the illicit sale of marijuana, according to the complaint.
Sirois pleaded not guilty to a 15-count indictment in November 2021 that included complaints against three businesses he partly owns, including Narrow Gauge in Farmington. Ten others named in the indictment also pleaded not guilty. Two others not named in the indictment pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
Sirois structured his operations to appear as though they complied with Maine’s medical marijuana laws 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, according federal prosecutors.
Marijuana use is illegal by federal law, but it is legal in Maine.
On Oct. 28, 2021, the U.S. District Court in Bangor ordered Sirois to follow certain conditions of release pending conclusion of this case.
“The order requires that defendant not use marijuana and ‘not violate federal, state, or local law,’” according to Nivison’s order. The Maine law that permits the use of medical marijuana “does not override the federal requirements for conditions of pretrial release — where federal law and state law provide contradictory directives, federal law controls,” the order states.
Sirois’ attorney, Timothy Parlatore, had requested release conditions be amended.
Parlatore gave three options: Permit Sirois to continue using his physician-prescribed cannabis medicine; direct that he not be sanctioned for such use as long as it complies with Maine law; or direct that pretrial services not file any violation petition based solely on a urinalysis test indicating positive for THC, given legal hemp derivatives.
U.S. Attorney Darcie McElwee and U.S. Assistant Attorney Noah Falk opposed the motion to modify conditions of his release.
The “court should enforce the existing terms of supervision and the federal law by continuing to prohibit the defendant’s use of medical marijuana,” according to their response. The “Controlled Substances Act contains no exceptions — express or implied — for medically prescribed marijuana,” according to prosecutors.
One of Sirois’ mandatory release conditions is that he not violate federal, state or local law while on release. The conditions include not using or possessing controlled substances unless prescribed by a medical professional. The condition explicitly excludes the use of marijuana “even with a prescription,” according to Nivison’s order.
Judge gives defendants in Farmington marijuana case more time to review evidence
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Farmington Man Pleads Guilty to Role in Illegal Marijuana Distribution Conspiracy Involving Money Laundering and Public Corruption
|BANGOR, Maine: A Farmington man pleaded guilty today in federal court to conspiring to possess and distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and 1,000 marijuana plants, U.S. Attorney Darcie N. McElwee announced.
According to court documents, from about 2016 through July 2020, Randal Cousineau, 69, participated in a conspiracy to illegally cultivate and sell marijuana. Cousineau was the primary financier and 50% partner with a co-conspirator in an illegal marijuana cultivation facility in Farmington. 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 illicitly to individuals who were not registered as caregivers, and for distribution outside of the state of Maine. Cousineau realized hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit from these illegal sales.
Cousineau faces up to life in prison and a $10 million fine. He will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
A related 14-count criminal complaint was also filed today in U.S. District Court in Bangor, charging 12 defendants with a variety of offenses, including 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 United States and to impede and impair the IRS, tax evasion, and tax fraud.
According to the criminal complaint, Lucas Sirois, 41, of Farmington, was the leader of the criminal organization. He and his coconspirators realized in excess of $13 million over a six-year period through the illicit sale of marijuana. Sirois structured his operations to appear as though they complied with Maine’s medical marijuana regime 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 who was ineligible to hold a caregiver card in Maine.
Also as alleged in the criminal complaint:
In addition to the criminal complaint, a civil complaint was unsealed today in federal court, seeking the forfeiture of 12 real properties involved in the facilitation of illegal marijuana trafficking and/or purchased with illegal drug proceeds.
A chart containing the names, charges, and maximum penalties for the defendants charged in the criminal complaint is set forth below. The maximum potential sentences described therein are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for information purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants would be determined by the sentencing judge.
U.S. Attorney McElwee praised the outstanding investigative work of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Division, Portland Resident Office; the FBI’s Boston Division; and the Boston Field Office of IRS Criminal Investigation. Ms. McElwee thanked local and state Maine law enforcement partners for their participation in, and support of, the investigation.
The charges and allegations contained in the criminal complaint are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.