Apr 21, 2024
3 mins read
3 mins read

Marijuana Operation Busted in Maine, as Feds Probe Trend in 20 States

Marijuana Operation Busted in Maine, as Feds Probe Trend in 20 States

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWSnet/AP) — U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is investigating international criminal organizations that are operating illegal marijuana grows in 20 states, Attorney Garland Merrick Garland told Senate Appropriations Committee.

Federal law enforcement officials said there are about 100 illicit grow operations in Maine, and 40 search warrants have been issued since June 2023.

In Passadumkeag, Maine, Xisen Guo, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in China, is accused of transforming a house into a high-tech, illicit grow operation. Nearly 40 pounds of processed marijuana were seized from the property.

Guo was ordered held without bail on federal drug charges, the first such a case in Maine. A detention hearing is scheduled for Monday.

Internal Revenue Service, Department of Homeland Security, FBI, DEA and local law enforcement are collaborating to uncover the illicit operations in Maine, Garland said.

Adult consumption of marijuana is legal in Maine, but growers must be licensed. That state’s Office of Cannabis Policy said Guo was operating an unlicensed operation, authorities said.

Legality of marijuana consumption and cultivation sometimes provides cover for illegal growers, officials said. Marijuana grown in those areas is trafficked within states where the drug is illegal.

U.S. Attorney Darcie McElwee said thwarting illegal growing operations with international connections is a priority.

“We will continue to marshal every tool at our disposal in this effort as appropriate,” McElweee said.

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