Law enforcement has been accused of taking bribes from drug companies and turning a blind eye to the sale of marijuana. The case is just one in a string of scandals that have tarnished law enforcement’s reputation.
Investigators were throwing big marijuana plants into the rear of a shipping container and loading boxes of evidence onto a U-Haul vehicle around lunchtime. Other marijuana operations and houses in western Maine were also raided by state and federal officials, who seized marijuana, cash, and guns.
Federal officials remained tight-lipped for more than a year about why they searched the premises and what they were looking into.
However, newly released court records detail what they call a “far-reaching and intricate conspiracy” to produce and sell marijuana in violation of Maine’s medical marijuana rules with the help of police officers.
According to federal investigators, the documents paint a detailed picture of a complex criminal operation allegedly led by Lucas Sirois of Farmington that benefited from the assistance and protection of four law enforcement officers, a Rangeley selectman, and an assistant district attorney, among others. A dozen individuals have been charged with marijuana distribution and money laundering, including Sirois’ father and divorced wife.
According to court filings, two of the officers were offered 50% ownership of Sirois’ firm and given company vehicles in exchange for assisting with its operation, running license plates, and collecting up marijuana from another site. The guys would occasionally appear up to the cultivation site in uniform and hide when other cops came into the parking lot of the shoe factory, according to a witness.
Randal Cousineau, 69, of Farmington, was charged separately and pled guilty to conspiracy to possess and distribute more than 1,000 kilos of marijuana and 1,000 marijuana plants in federal court on Oct. 27. According to court filings, Cousineau profited hundreds of thousands of dollars through the unlawful selling of marijuana in Maine and abroad. He agreed to spend a maximum of just over five years in jail and forfeit over $650,000 in illicit narcotics revenues as part of a plea agreement. His sentencing date has not yet been set.
On the same day Cousineau pled guilty, a criminal complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in Bangor outlining the alleged plan. The 12 defendants are charged with a variety of felonies, including conspiracy to distribute banned narcotics, bank fraud, and money laundering. A federal grand jury indicted all but one of them last week.
The lawsuit claims that Sirois, who has been a major person in the medical marijuana industry and filed for three of the eight dispensary licenses awarded when Maine initially allowed dispensaries in 2010, arranged his operations to look to comply with the state’s medical marijuana standards. However, authorities said he sold bulk marijuana on the black market on a regular basis, netting him and his co-conspirators more than $13 million over the course of six years.
Sirois allegedly transferred $1 million worth of marijuana out of state in 2018-19 utilizing the services of co-defendant Brandon Dagnese, 27, of Scarborough, a convicted felon who was unable to have a caregiver certificate in Maine, according to the complaint.
Lucas Sirois’ lawyer in New York, Timothy Parlatore, claimed his client has run a lawful and registered medicinal marijuana company for years and did not conduct the offenses charged against him. He claims that the government’s case is mostly based on the testimony of someone Sirois dismissed for committing a crime.
“A lot of this is her attempting to grind an axe against Luke since she was dismissed,” Parlatore said.
Sirois will enter a not guilty plea at his future hearing, according to Parlatore. He wants to submit a preliminary injunction to block Sirois’ indictment because he thinks prosecutors broke the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which forbids the Justice Department from prosecuting activity that is legal under state medicinal cannabis laws.
“Luke is a dedicated person who spotted an opportunity when the state of Maine made this sector lawful. He has improved the economy by creating employment “According to Parlatore. “He is contributing to the community in a positive way, which is exactly what we want residents to do. He is still open for business, and we anticipate that after the lawsuit is resolved, he will continue to operate his company. Anything less than removal would only harm Maine residents and the individuals he employs.”
His work is described differently by federal authorities. They claim Sirois used a “complex business structure” to launder money from drug transactions, lied to banking institutions about the source of his funds, submitted fake tax returns, and recruited sheriff’s deputies to assist him obtain access to secret law enforcement documents.
Bradley Scovil, 33, of Rangeley, and Derrick Doucette, 29, of Jay, both of whom have since left their professions, started working for Sirois while employed with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. According to federal prosecutors, they were given stock in the company and new SUVs as a reward.
Later, according to the complaint, Sirois reportedly persuaded the two deputies to utilize their network of active law enforcement personnel to get information regarding the continuing federal investigation into his illegal behavior. Scovil was reportedly informed of the federal inquiry by Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Kayla Alves, 36, of Farmington. According to the lawsuit, Wilton police officer Kevin Lemay, 33, of Farmington, and James McLamb, 29, of Auburn, then an Oxford County deputy, utilized government databases to inform Scovil and Doucette that they were being investigated.
Alisa Sirois, 43, of Kingfield, his father, 68-year-old Robert Sirois of Farmington, and Ryan Nezol, 38, of Farmington are accused of unlawful narcotics trafficking alongside Sirois. According to the complaint, Sirois and his tax preparer, Kenneth Allen, 48, of Farmington, submitted fake income tax returns to conceal hundreds of thousands of dollars in income and avoid paying taxes.
David Burgess, 53, a Rangeley selectman at the time, is accused of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in cash and investments in his internet company from Sirois in exchange for assisting with the marijuana business and advocating for an ordinance drafted by Sirois that would have loosened local medical marijuana rules to Sirois’ benefit.
On November 9, a federal grand jury indicted 11 of the 12 people accused in the conspiracy. Alves was not indicted despite being accused with interfering with processes and records in a complaint. Her case was adjourned after both parties asked for an extra 60 days to continue settlement talks that had begun before an indictment was brought.
On single charges of keeping a drug-involved location, three firms — Lakemont LLC, Sandy River LLC, and Spruce Valley LLC — were also accused. According to court records, Sirois and Cousineau owned Lakemont LLC and Sandy River LLC, while Sirois and an unknown co-conspirator owned Spruce Valley LLC.
The 12 defendants have appeared in federal court for the first time. Except for Sirois, everyone was freed on a personal recognizance bond. Sirois is free on a secured bail of $500,000.
The Interior of the Shoe Store
Before federal officials turned up at his primary growing site last year, Sirois had been working in the medicinal marijuana market in Maine for at least a decade. By August 2018, his company had gotten the notice of the DEA and the IRS, but court filings don’t say what initiated the inquiry.
FBI Special Agent James Hendry recounts how investigators put together facts of the operation Sirois allegedly conducted for more than four years while pretending to follow Maine’s standards in an affidavit submitted in federal court.
According to Hendry, Sirois was licensed by the Office of Marijuana Policy to run a single marijuana production facility in Farmington, but in actuality was cultivating marijuana in many places, including a converted toy factory in Avon, in quantities much above what Maine law allows. Sirois and his co-conspirators laundered money through real estate, luxury vehicles, and corporate ventures, Hendry wrote, while funneling cash from the sales through a web of shell companies.
Sirois reportedly managed a banned collective out of Farmington’s premier growing facility, the old shoe factory known as the Shoe Shop. According to the affidavit, his organization grew marijuana for sale, but he compensated workers as if they were independent caregivers who grew what they sold to him.
During the 11-month time that a former employee questioned by investigators worked at the Shoe Shop, workers worked in eight grow rooms, generating more than 600 pounds of marijuana, according to the affidavit. Hendry stated that Sirois had exterior cameras and a security system built to detect the coming of police authorities and allow unlicensed personnel time to depart the facility, including his father, Robert Sirois, a convicted drug offender who was paid $1,200 monthly to be the shop’s caretaker.
Burgess, the former Rangeley selectman, was employed by Sirois to “address issues,” and he came up every week with a bag of cash to pay Shoe Shop workers, according to a former employee. According to the statement, Sirois was also paying Burgess to lobby for the referendum’s passing in Rangeley, urging him to “load up a bus” with 50 people to vote. In the end, voters rejected the referendum.
According to the affidavit, a bank staffer threatened to cancel Burgess’ accounts if he continued to deposit cash that smelled like marijuana.
The document does not specify how Sirois reportedly enlisted the help of law enforcement. Scovil and Doucette, Franklin County sheriff’s officers, were regular visitors to the Shoe Shop by the middle of 2019. According to the affidavit, they would sometimes turn up in uniform at Sirois’ request, carrying their military weapons. They had keys to the building and a spacious office inside from September to November. Scovil reportedly used license plates from parked automobiles outside to assist Sirois figure out who was working for him. Doucette is accused of transporting 12 pounds of marijuana from a Bridgton dispensary to the Shoe Shop.
Scovil and Doucette would “hit the ground” when other cops arrived in the parking lot, Hendry wrote, to avoid being observed by their colleagues.
Scovil was at the business one day when four individuals came in a vehicle with Pennsylvania plates, each holding a visible pistol, according to a former Shoe Shop employee. They piled 40 to 50 pounds of marijuana into duffel bags and drove away. Scovil produced a courier card for the persons in the vehicle when a Farmington police cruiser stopped outside to “legitimize” the transportation of marijuana if they were pulled over, according to the affidavit. In Maine, if authorized persons transport marijuana or marijuana products, they must fill out a travel ticket form.
In November of that year, Scovil and Doucette resigned from the sheriff’s office. According to the affidavit, Sirois had purchased each guy a Ford Explorer a month previously. According to the affidavit, they became partners in Narrow Gauge Distributors about that time, with each obtaining a 25% stake.
However, their departure from the sheriff’s office did not prevent them from using their law enforcement contacts to aid the operation, according to Hendry.
The Investigation Is Heating Up
Sirois, Scovil, and Doucette thought they were being observed by law enforcement by spring 2020, but they didn’t know which agency or why. They’d observed vehicles following them, and a camera placed up outside Scovil’s driveway captured footage of a truck he assumed was driven by a cop, Hendry wrote.
Scovil and Doucette were reportedly reaching out to contacts in law enforcement to find out whether they were being probed and who was following them as the inquiry progressed and agents started monitoring Sirois’ mobile phone.
Scovil allegedly contacted Lemay, a Wilton police officer, in June and requested him to check up the license plate of the vehicle his security camera had detected in a law enforcement database, according to investigators. According to the affidavit, when it came back as “not on file,” suggesting it belonged to law enforcement, Lemay contacted a Maine Drug Enforcement Agency agent to ask whether the vehicle belonged to the agency.
According to Hendry’s affidavit, Scovil and Doucette supplied Lemay CBD lotion and promised to sponsor him in a mixed martial arts battle. Lemay is on administrative leave from his position in Wilton at the moment.
According to investigators, Doucette contacted McLamb, who was then a deputy with the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office, and asked him to run car plate numbers given by Doucette. According to the affidavit, messages analyzed by Hendry revealed that Doucette promised to assist McLamb in setting up a marijuana growing enterprise.
Scovil reportedly discussed his new employment in the marijuana industry with Alves, his neighbor and an assistant district attorney, throughout the spring and summer of that year. Scovil inquired about an investigation into Alves, but she originally told him she didn’t know, according to Hendry. According to federal prosecutors, Alves subsequently informed Scovil about the federal inquiry.
McLamb, Lemay, and Alves allegedly erased text conversations to remove themselves from the scheme, according to investigators.
McLamb was recently sacked as the town manager of Dixfield due to his suspected participation in the crime. McLamb “should not be judged at this hour solely on a single-sided, uncontested charge,” according to his lawyer, Michael Turndorf.
“Right now, there’s just one side of the narrative, and that’s the government side,” he said. “There is always an opposing viewpoint.”
Scovil, Doucette, and Lemay’s attorneys did not respond to requests for interviews.
Alves’ lawyer, Walter McKee, claims his client did not commit a crime.
“It’s disheartening to see her pulled into it all. For the non-criminal activities she accomplished here, she got nothing. She is a well-known prosecutor, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq, and a mother of three who put herself through college and law school while raising her children. She is a very remarkable person. Let me assure you that this will not be a little battle “McKee stated to the Sun Journal in an email.
According to a transcript of the call included in the affidavit, after Alves informed Scovil about the investigation on July 8, he called Sirois to inform him that they were being followed by federal agents and to discuss how to change their behavior to avoid arrest and prosecution by federal authorities.
“But… so I just — we’ve got to keep it low-key and just conduct legitimate agreements. And I believe we need to spend this week and next week really getting our (crap) together, getting our licenses straightened out. Because the last thing we want them to do is kick this (expletive) door out front and tear down every plant, particularly if it’s the feds “According to the affidavit, Scovil informed Sirois.
Federal agents raided the Shoe Shop thirteen days later, seizing $29,500 in cash, 469 kilos of processed marijuana, and 1,805 marijuana plants.